If you feel like you’re missing out on one of Europe’s next big expat spots, we are here to fill you in and help you learn the ropes about life and work in Serbia. We’re happy to help you discover all the available jobs, salaries, work permits and visas this country has to offer!
If you’re coming from the USA, Canada or other western countries, there are certain things to be prepared for if you want to do business in, or work from Serbia. Some corners of the job market in which foreigners and expats can work within Serbia are:
- It sector
- Teaching in international schools
- Teaching a language
- Running a business
This article will get more in depth about:
- visa requirements
- work permits
- salaries and more
Is it hard to get a job in Serbia for foreigners and expats?
Serbia doesn’t have the most developed job market, but the market can still be penetrated with creative networking.
Generally speaking, most common jobs vary within the population and range from positions in factories, customer service, craftsmanship, IT, education, trade and so on. Many people also freelance.
It’s important to note that it is fairly hard for the young population in Serbia with a college degree to find a job in their profession, so they often end up working outside of their area of expertise.
It didn’t help that Serbia’s unemployment rate dropped to around 12% in 2021 as a result of serious lockdowns and other economical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. But things are starting to get back to normal after the market reopened.
So all this might leave you wondering if it’s different for foreigners and expats with high education?
It might be. Foreigners can work embassy jobs, start their own business, or work as an employee of a foreign company that has invested in Serbia, which is pretty common for expats.
In conclusion, there is a high possibility for foreigners and expats to find a job in Serbia. Keep reading to learn the best ways to search for and obtain a job that will allow you to live and work in Serbia.
How can foreigners and expats get a job in Serbia?
We’re gonna start off with a shameless plug and let you know that we here at Support Adventure provide remote jobs for expats, and we are always hiring. We are a fully remote company ran by expats, and we mostly have positions open for IT help desk support of all levels, service desk coordination and occasionally admin assistance. The salary starts at $1500 USD, which is much higher than the average salary in Serbia. You can apply for an open position here!
Here are some other reliable resources for finding work:
- Local job websites such as infostud and oglasi.rs
- Various Facebook groups for expats in Serbia
- Word-of-mouth by joining an expat community and getting connected with the locals in your city in Serbia
What jobs can foreigners and expats get in Serbia?
Depending on your preferences, skills and experience, there are multiple jobs foreigners and expats can do in Serbia.
Jobs in the IT sphere for foreigners and expats
The most in demand positions these days are in the IT sector, such as IT engineers and developers. These are some of the highest paying jobs in Serbia for both locals and foreign workers.
And as a result of the pandemic, most work in the IT industry can now be done remotely, which gives you location independence to further explore this beautiful country.
Salaries in this field can range from $1000 to $3000 USD a month. Depending on your role and responsibilities, you can expect raises and bonuses, as well as further development and advancement.
Another plus of this industry is that many positions do not require certificates or diplomas. Experience, skill, creativity and the ability to adjust quickly are often valued much more for landing a job in the IT sector in Serbia.
Work in tourism for foreigners and expats
If English is your native language, and perhaps an additional one to spare, finding a job as a tour guide or working in a tourism agency can be a suitable path for you. Serbia is a dream destination for nature lovers with exciting excursions all year round. The country is also rich in eventful history, including Roman and Ottoman archeological sites.
Working as a tour guide can bring many benefits. If you are tired of the “9 to 5,” this could be the job for you. Guiding tourists through local sites or taking them on adrenaline-filled adventures can bring you much enjoyment. Salaries in this field vary and can range from around 50,000 RSD (Serbian dinars) a month on average, which is about $500 USD, to much higher, depending on the employer and your engagement.
Working for an agency is basically an office job that involves contacting customers, arranging tour packages and booking transport and hotels. The salary is also around 50,000 RSD and up.
Another option to consider is to open a retreat, such as an ethno village, permaculture or nature escape. Doing so requires much more preparation and investment, but rest assured that buying or renting land in Serbia is not too difficult. Owning a house or land will grant you a long term visa, and renting a place will provide you with proof of residency required for a long term visa. This proof of residency is often referred to as the “beli karton,” which in English means white card.” You will need the white card in order to apply for a work permit.
For some jobs in tourism, a tourist license is required. You can find out how to get one in Serbia on The National Touristic Organisation of Serbias’ website.
As Serbia has a lot of fertile land, located on breathtaking landscapes all around the country, it’s only natural that agriculture is very prominent. Owning land and making your own produce can be a good investment for many reasons.
Some people engage in permaculture and offer workshops, retreats or working in exchange for bed and breakfast. This is something that is just starting to develop in Serbia, so there might be some advantages to getting involved in this avenue in its beginning stages.
Teaching – International schools, private language schools or freelance
Teachers in public schools in Serbia are unfortunately paid very little. In private schools however, the conditions are much better. International schools hire teachers based on their diplomas or certificates obtained in their home countries. But whatever your subject is, you can teach elementary, middle or high school students in Serbia.
Monthly payment for an international teacher is around $1000 USD a month, and can vary. For freelancing, the payment depends on what teaching platform you conduct your lessons through. A disadvantage is that this type of work will not grant you a long term visa, but it can be done without a work permit.
Running a business
Opening a business in Serbia is not an easy thing to do, mostly because of the volume of paperwork and complications of bureaucracy. Depending on the type of business one opens, it can also be difficult to beat rival companies for customers or clients. A lot of successful expat businesses in Serbia master how to bring unrivaled value to their market.
From restaurants, advisories, touristic agencies and photography services to craftsmanship companies and agriculture production, bringing value and having the tenacity to commit to your business can make you a self-made success in Serbia!
What is the average salary and the cost of living in Serbia?
In 2020, the average net salary in Serbia amounted to 59,000 RSD, which is around 500 euros. This can be enough to rent a studio apartment outside of the city center, pay for groceries and utilities. However, to live comfortably in Serbia, you will need around 800 euros.
Monthly expenses in Serbia’s capital Belgrade are around 500 euros, plus 300 euros for renting a one bedroom apartment.
What are the best cities for foreigners and expats to work from in Serbia?
For sure, the highest paying jobs in Serbia are in the IT sector, which are available in numerous prominent cities like Belgrde, Novi Sad or Nis. However, this type of work can also be done remotely, without you needing to report to an office in Serbia. Another high source of income can be from your own business. Depending on your niche, you can have reach in multiple spots in Serbia.
This capital of Serbia, which is also the largest city in the country, is where the majority of business is done. A lot of IT companies have their headquarters in Belgrade. Education, hospitality and tourism are also very developed, and it should be easy to find jobs in this area.
Novi Sad is the second largest city. It was named the European Capital of Culture in 2021 due to its many art projects, communities and welcoming spaces full of Austro-Hungarian history.
Work in agriculture, hospitality and tourism are perfect for this beautiful region in central Serbia. Covered with lush forests and mountains with great biodiversity, it is like a small piece of heaven on Earth.
Do foreigners and expats need a working visa for Serbia?
To enter Serbia, and stay up to 90 days within a period of six months, some nationalities don’t need a visa. However, spending time in Serbia as a tourist does not allow you to legally work there. To be able to work, all foreign visitors require a work permit, which can be obtained by applying at the Labor Market office in Belgrade. The application takes up to two days to be reviewed and receive a decision.
The steps and documentation requirements are different depending on the status of the applicant. Most common statuses include:
- Relocated within a company
- Independent professional
- Relocated for training and development
Visit this website for detailed information and an interactive guide that walks you through getting a work permit in Serbia.
How to get the work permit to work in Serbia?
The work permit is issued for anywhere between three to 12 months. The steps for obtaining the work permit are:
- Getting a residence permit issued by the Ministry of Interior affairs
- Application by the company
- Application by the individual
- A work permit issued by the Labor Market office
Below are documents required to get a work permit for a foreigner with permanent residence:
- A processed request with the National Employment Service
- A certified copy of the permit for permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia, or copy of ID
To obtain a residence permit, a foreigner needs the approval from the owner of the residence they are staying at. The owner and the foreigner need to go to the local police station and apply for the “white card” which shows the permanent residence of the applicant. This is the first step to obtaining the work permit.
Work permits can be issued for full time, part time, definite or an indefinite period of time, determined as the agreement between the employer and the employee.
Hopefully, this information has helped you to find the best job opportunities in Serbia for expats and foreigners!