Networking and Capacity Building for More Effective Migration Policy in Serbia – Pursuing Further Progress

November 10, 2013

Donor: Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade

Duration: April 2013 – October 2014

By reinforcing and developing the outcomes of the previous project cycle, this project will work further to provide hands-on policy outputs for the most pressing issues in the areas of asylum and readmission in Serbia. The project will be implemented by partner organizations: Group 484, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.Strong increase in the number of asylum seekers in Serbia has been noticed since 2010. Capacities for reception and institutional ability to provide efficient asylum process have become insufficient and people directly involved in the asylum process clearly indicate various flaws of the Asylum Act and there is a pressing need for it to be amended. On the other hand, Serbia is still facing the challenge of reintegration of its citizens being readmitted from EU Member States. It has been particularly serious since the abolition of the visa regime in December 2009. In 2010 and 2011, increased numbers of unfounded asylum applications by Serbian citizens occurred in several EU Member States. To avoid the visa regime restoration Serbian Government introduced several administrative measures. However, the major increase in the number of asylum seekers from Serbia in 2012 evidently demonstrates that true solution to this problem could be found only through genuine social intervention that would increase the life quality of those asylum seekers.

This project promotes efficient migration management throughout greater involvement of civil society organizations and their actions at local level. There are 15 civil society organisations (CSOs) forming two thematic policy-advocacy groups (PAG) established within the first-year project period. They will be given opportunity to further enhance their experience and capacities through research, monitoring and policy work. One PAG will be dealing with issues concerning asylum system in Serbia, while other PAG will be working on problems in regard to readmission of Serbian citizens.

Asylum PAG activities will consist of three programme groups: 1) advancement of legislation; 2) engagement of more local CSOs; 3) encouragement of the public discussions about reception of migrants and virtue of tolerance. Readmission PAG will be dealing with the issue of new asylum seekers from Serbia and of sustainable social response through new employment policy measures, including the possibility for seasonal labor migration toward specific EU Member States.

At least 25 local CSOs will go through basic training on asylum and migration and have opportunity to conduct minor local research activities. More CSOs will be included through public discussions and consultations. Another important target group are the national and local governments and institutions. They will be involved in consultations, discussions and conferences about specific migration issues raised by this project. Asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and other specifically vulnerable migrant groups are indirect but extremely important target group of this project. Their voice will be heard through focus group discussions, consultations, public discussions and training events for the local CSOs.