Residence

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Additional Complications Related to Registration of Permanent Residence at the Address of Social Welfare Centre

The Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens adopted in November 2011 was announced as paving the road towards the solution of the problem of registration of permanent/temporary residence of person who have no legal basis of housing in the Republic of Serbia (ownership right over the apartment, contract on lease of the apartment or any other legal basis). The  Law envisages the possibility of the registration of permanent residence at the address of the institution in which a person permanently resides or at the address of the competent social welfare centre, with the notification that the procedure, conditions and the manner of its conducting will be regulated additionally by bylaws.

The Rulebook of procedure for registration of permanent residence at the address of the social welfare center came into force at the beginning of December 2012, but the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia issued the Instruction for proceeding to be followed when registering the permanent residence at the address of social welfare center (SWC). The act of the Ministry prescribes the guidelines for coordination of the activities of the competent bodies in the concerned procedure, but the interpretation of the provision of the Instruction that envisages the conditions for the registration of the permanent residence at the address of SWC turned out to be disputable. Specifically, in addition to the evidence on identity of a person whose request is being decided on, the disputable provision requires enclosing “evidence by the competent body of internal affairs that permanent residence cannot be registered pursuant to the Article 11, Paragraph 2, Items 1, 2 and 3 of the Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens” (on the basis of the ownership right over the apartment, lease contract over the apartment or any other legal basis).

It is unclear whether the fulfillment of the conditions in terms of the stated provision of the Instruction will require that concerned person shall initiate the administrative procedure (for the registration of permanent residence) before the competent bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and that rejecting decision be treated as evidence in terms of instruction, or the competent services of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will issue special confirmations/certificates on the fact that a person does not have permanent residence registered. Particularly negative aspect of the given approach to the problem reflects in prolongation of the procedure for registration at the address of SWC. Several months can elapse from the submission of the requests for receiving the decision proving the impossibility of the registration of permanent residence, not including the period needed for the effectiveness, which does not contribute to the intentions to solve the problems of the lack of registration of permanent residence, with all accompanying consequences such as the impossibility to access other rights.

On 23 January 2013, Praxis’ representatives attended the meeting held in the premises of the Social Welfare Centre Bujanovac where the possibilities of the simplification and more efficient conducting of the initiated procedures of registration of permanent residence at the address of this SWC were considered. Due to uncertainty related to the interpretation of this disputable provision, Praxis addressed the Police Station in Bujanovac, which interprets the envisaged evidence as the final decision rejecting the request for determination of permanent residence. The Administrative Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia has the same opinion of which Praxis was informed in a phone conversation.

Conducting the administrative procedure before the competent body of the Ministry of Interior for receiving the final decision rejecting the request for determination of permanent residence, which would serve as the evidence as requested by  the Instruction, is a time-consuming process. The previous experience points out that the same administrative procedures most often last about three months (without the period necessary for the onset of effectiveness), though there are procedures lasting more than even two years in practice. It is clear that acting in the envisaged manner will cause delays in procedures to an unacceptable extent. Such situation does not contribute to the intentions to solve the problem of persons without the permanent residence as efficiently as possible.

Conducting of a significant number of procedures of registration of permanent residence at the address of SWC is the precondition for the valuation of the effect of the concerned regulation. However, it is necessary to point out to the lacks of adopted acts at the very beginning of their implementation. Urgent removal of doubts and ambiguities is a must. In addition, the basic goals of all responsible bodies should include the simplification of administrative procedures and taking steps to make them more efficient, particularly because the problem of impossibility of the registration of permanent residence affects mainly the most vulnerable categories of citizens.

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