[TV Euronews] More than 80,000 seasonal agricultural workers registered through the Seasonal Workers portal

The National Employment Service issued over 52,000 work permits last year, which is 17,000 more than the previous year. However, official statistics do not include foreigners working as seasonal workers.

Todo Terzić at NALED, stated in a morning program on TV Euronews that there is a large number of workers engaged in seasonal jobs. He mentioned that since 2019, when the Law on Simplified Conditions for Work Engagement of Seasonal Workers in Agriculture was enacted, around 750 individuals or companies have been employing seasonal workers in agriculture.

" The majority of individuals are legal entities, although the Law also provides the option for natural persons, i.e., farmers who have registered agricultural holdings, to employ seasonal workers. This has brought about many positive changes, reducing the share of the informal economy. All those workers who were not registered and did not have conditions to work safely, pay taxes and contributions, and regularly report their income, now have that opportunity, " Terzić said.

According to him, the number of seasonal agricultural workers increases year by year. Since 2019, over 80,000 workers have been reported to be working in seasonal jobs.

" These are seasonal jobs that cannot exceed six months, such as sowing, planting, harvesting, and sorting fruit. Of course, domestic workers are predominant, but there is an evident influx of foreign workers year by year. Somewhere between 3 and 5% of the total share of seasonal workers are foreign workers, " Terzić said.

According to a NALED survey conducted with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which covered 187 companies, 14% of them in Serbia employ foreign workers. The majority of these companies are large enterprises - 27%, and medium-sized enterprises - 20% of the total sample of the survey.

Regarding the costs of foreign workers, Terzić reminded that the employer is obliged to hire a worker who had first acquired the right of residence in Serbia. The amount of the fee paid for obtaining a work permit is between 16,000 and 17,000 dinars, while additional costs, such as document certification for the worker to have all rights and to be able to be registered promptly, amount to around 80,000 dinars, according to NALED's research.

Responding to the question of what the increasing number of foreign workers brings to the labor market, Todo Terzić pointed out that we have an increasing number and influx of educated professional and highly skilled staff who bring new knowledge, innovations, and knowledge of new technologies, which will allow our workers to become acquainted with new working systems.

You can watch the entire interview at the following link.

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