Effectiveness of Procedures Regulating the Legality of Migrants’/Refugees’ Stay in Serbia

In November and December 2018, RAS’ Field Team has conducted a survey among 221 newly arrived migrants willing to register their intent to seek asylum in Serbia and continued to monitor the registration process until the moment of their accommodation in reception facilities.

Due to its limited capacities, Department for Foreigners usually imposes quotas on how many registration procedures can be conducted per day – which often results in creation of priority lists and prolonged waiting times for those willing to register but not qualify as a priority case. Furthermore, those not being ranked highly on priority list one day can also fall below the set quota for the next day (and the day after, and so on) if there is a high number of those belonging to vulnerable groups among the new arrivals, such as unaccompanied minors or families.

Migrants/refugees unable to get registered on the day of arrival to Belgrade are not provided with any accommodation or necessities, except for a limited amount of meals and possibility to stay overnight in Miksaliste community center for the most vulnerable.

Among those able to obtain the registration document, 38 (44%) were registered on the day of the arrival. Out of remaining 48 (56%), 24 (28%) slept in Miksaliste community center and waited for more than 2 days on average, 19 (22%) slept rough in Savamala area and waited for close to 3 days, 4 (5%) resided in private accommodation and waited for one day, and 1 person stayed in hostel and waited 2 days to get registered.

Out of 83 individuals who either obtained accommodation in the reception facilities without the registration document, or were offered to do so but declined, 9 (11%) were offered to go to reception center without registration on the day of arrival. Among the rest, 33 (40%) slept in Miksaliste and waited for more than 2 days on average, 19 (23%) slept rough and waited for more than 8 days, 12 (14%) resided in hotel/hostel and waited for close to 6 days, and 10 (12%) resided in private accommodation and waited for more than 10 days.

According to the collected data, 169 migrants/refugees were offered to go to reception facilities either with or without registration. Out of those, 59 (35%) did not go – the main reason given (27 or 46%) was the lack of financial resources to reach the reception facility. Among 110 (65%) who obtained accommodation in reception facilities, 51 (46%) were registered, while 59 (54%) were not.

Full report is available here: RAS Report -10 – Dec 2018.

Refugee Aid Serbia is monitoring migration flows through the Balkans in partnership with OXFAM Italia.