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.

Challenges and Experiences Along the Migrants’ Route

Between May 1 and May 31, RAS Field Team focused on monitoring the overall situation in the Belgrade area, in addition to going on a week-long field mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, RAS Field Team provided information to 1,184 migrants/refugees and conducted 255 interviews in Belgrade with both newly arrived migrants and those residing in Serbia. In the month of May, RAS Field Team was in contact with 500 new arrivals – 29% (143) of them coming from Pakistan, 24% (119) from Iran, 21% (101) from Afghanistan, and 11% (58) from Iraq. Other countries of origin include Syria (19), Somalia (15), Libya (13), Algeria (9), India (6), Bangladesh (6) and Ghana (5).

In coordination with Praxis, as well as independently, 37 targeted non-food items (NFI) distributions were carried out as a result of which 45 persons were provided with 74 items of clothing. RAS Field Team referred 152 migrants/refugees to Praxis, CRPC, CYI, MSF, and other organizations for the purposes of legal aid, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and medical services during the reporting period.

In May 2018, RAS Field Team interviewed migrants/refugees in order to understand the length of their journey and what kind of difficulties they have experienced. Journey length is defined as the time that passed since the respondent left their country of origin until they reached Serbia.

RAS Report – 6 – Journey – June 2018

Migration-related Context in Bosnia and Herzegovina Follow-up Assessment

After the initial Report on the Migration-Related context in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the end of March 2018, Refugee Aid Serbia’s Field Team visited Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from 15-20th May in order to carry out a follow-up assessment on the migration-related context in BiH. Over 400 interviews were conducted with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Sarajevo, Goražde, Bihać and Velika Kladuša. During the visit, the team has attended meetings with key stakeholders – government, international and local organizations, and volunteer groups – and assisted with various activities they were carrying out in Sarajevo and Bihać.

RAS Report – BiH Follow-up Assessment – May 2018

Report on Choice of Destination Country

Between April 10 and April 30, RAS Field Team focused on monitoring the overall situation in the Belgrade area. In total, RAS Field Team provided 963 migrants/refugees with information and conducted 242 interviews with both newly arrived and migrants residing in Serbia for more than a month during this reporting period. In these 20 days of April, RAS Field Team took notice of 240 new arrivals – 40% (98) of them coming from Pakistan, 23% (56) from Afghanistan, 21% (50) from Iran, and 8% (19) from Iraq. Other countries of origin include Algeria (3), Sri Lanka (4), Syria (5), Libya (9), Somalia (4), and Ghana (7).

During the reporting period, 236 migrants/ refugees were asked about their preferred country of destination. Although the answers vary greatly, there is an evident trend to move to Western European countries, namely France 44 (19%), Germany 40 (17%), and Italy 37 (16%). Serbia was also a choice of a significant number of migrants/refugees, 21 (9%). These four main destinations are followed by Spain, (4%), Norway (3%) and the United Kingdom (2%).

RAS_Report_ 5_May_2018_ Destination Country

Report on Border-Crossing Attempts and Push-Backs

102 migrants/refugees interviewed between February 6 and April 9, 2018 reported that they tried to exit Serbia in irregular manner during their stay in the country, which varied between 2 weeks and 2 years, with 4-6 months being the average length of stay in Serbia.

Majority of interviewed migrants attempted to reach Croatia – 62 (61%) of them made 516 attempts (which constitutes 57% of total 899 attempts) towards Serbian-Croatian border – while 42 (41%) tried to enter Hungary in 276 (31%) attempts, 37 (36%) migrants made 94 (10%) attempts to Romania, and 11 (10%) to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 13 (1%) attempts.


Report on Migration-related Context in BiH

Field team of Refugee Aid Serbia (RAS), a partner of Oxfam, has been on an exploratory mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) during the period of March 27th – March 30th in order to verify obtained information about the emerging migration routes through BiH.

Since the team’s planned visit coincided with carrying out of the Multi-cluster/sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) coordinated in Sarajevo by UNHCR, RAS has, together with other organizations, participated in the assessment with the approval of the UNHCR in BiH.

This report is not supposed to replace MIRA and no information obtained during the collection of data in MIRA was used in compiling of this report.

Report on Migration-related Context in BiH – RAS

Field Report – March (1)



During the first two weeks of March, RAS Field Team has been in contact with 73 new arrivals. The most represented groups among new arrivals were citizens of Pakistan (41%), Afghanistan (18%), Iraq (14%) and Syria (11%).

During this period, 79 interviews were conducted and information was provided to 177 persons.

Migrants are sleeping rough in Belgrade. During the first days of March, around 20 persons were using the abandoned building behind “Bristol” hotel as a shelter.

RAS Field Team conducted three field visits to the areas outside Belgrade – one in Subotica and two in Šid.

Read the full report below.


Field Report – February (2)



During February 2018, RAS Field Team has been in contact with 177 new arrivals. The most represented groups among new arrivals were citizens of Pakistan (28%), Iran (22%), Iraq (22%) and Afghanistan (17%).

During this period, 241 interviews were conducted and information was provided to 286 persons.

Snow and rapid temperature drop were the cause of a significant decrease in the number of migrants gathering in the area around the Afghan park.

Early in the evening on Saturday, February 24, the police carried out a large raid on the streets, in hostels and bars around the Afghan Park.

Read the full report below.

RAS_Field_Report_05032018 (1)


Field Report – February (1)



From February 5th to February 20th, RAS Field Team has been in contact with 116 new arrivals. The most represented groups among new arrivals were citizens of Iraq (28%), Pakistan (28%) and Iran (21%).

During this period, 154 interviews were conducted and information was provided to 183 persons.

The need for NFIs is the most urgent in cases of new arrivals, who are sometimes forced to wait several days before they get registered by the police. These persons arrive in Belgrade not adequately prepared to spend nights outdoors, without blankets or sleeping bags, and with no legal options or financial means to seek shelter in private accommodation.

Although the number of persons in need of targeted NFI distribution is relatively small (approximately 2-3 persons a day), it is clear that the items in demand are essential for the prolonged exposure to winter conditions in Serbia.

Read the full report below.

RAS_Field_Report_20022018 (3)