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Salary in Serbia in 2023: Labor Remuneration and Living Standards in the Balkans

If you relocate to a new country, you naturally want to know what you can do there to make money and how much different professionals earn there. Serbia is no exception: you need all this information to assess the living standards and comfort you can have in the new country. If you see that it will be lower than you had back home, there is no point in such relocation. Therefore, let’s look to see what Serbia can offer to immigrants in terms of labor remuneration.

Salary in Serbia

In 2023, the minimum salary in Serbia is RSD 230 per working hour, which amounts to RSD 40,020 per month. As compared to 2022, the minimum labor remuneration in the Republic of Serbia rose by 14.3%, which had a relevant impact on the average salary of all specialists (RSD 60,000).

Let’s break down the average salary in Serbia by specialization and industry, see how much you can earn in Serbia, look at ways of making payments to employees and in shops, and assess whether this money is enough for a foreigner to have a comfortable life.

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Banks in Serbia: Local Peculiarities

On the one hand, Serbia boasts European-quality banking services at affordable prices that foreigners usually appreciate. On the other hand, you should be prepared to face some local peculiarities that may be annoying if you expect things to be impeccable and are a born perfectionist. Well, let’s look at some potential hurdles that should not discourage you in any way to relocate to this beautiful country:

  • It is in the Serbian mentality to do everything in a relaxed manner. Why hurry? As a result, opening an account, acceptance and processing of documents could take several weeks.
  • You may be required to provide a residence permit to open an account. On the other hand, you can only get a residence permit if you have a bank account with a Serbian bank. Sometimes people get into this vicious circle if they venture on their own. Always remember that our consultants can help you break the circle should things get tough!
  • Serbia is a country that will welcome any foreigners with smiles! Serbians are open to contact with foreign residents and you will feel warm there. On the other hand, administrative procedures may be painstaking. You might have to jump through several bureaucratic hoops to get your local card – unless you can make a deposit with the bank starting with one million, for instance. 
  • Bureaucracy may give you hard times all over Europe! And Serbia is no exception. If you come from a country where the general mentality is more on the “rules are rules” side, you will feel OK. However, there are countries with a mentality based on the assumption that “rules are created to be circumvented”, and you should not expect the Serbs to adopt this attitude. Despite their generally welcoming mood, you will have to comply with the rules.
  • Legal illiteracy is one of the reasons that may create a lot of obstacles on the way to opening a card account with Serbian banks. You should take into account all the bank’s requirements and expressly comply with them. Our clients note that it is much easier to do it through an intermediary, including our foreign partners. You send us the documents, and we will return to you with a ready-to-use account. No problem whatsoever!
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You can open a personal foreign account through our foreign partners not only in Serbia but also in other countries. Contact our experts to get professional assistance!

Employment in Serbia for Foreigners

The conditions and procedure of employment for foreign citizens are regulated by the law “On Employment of Foreigners”. A citizen of another country should get a work permit personally or through his/her employer to work in Serbia. There are different kinds of work permits:

  • A personal work permit that gives a foreign citizen the right to independently seek and get employment in Serbia
  • A work permit for a particular firm or company which is usually obtained by the employer
  • A work permit giving the right to move as part of a commercial project
  • A Serbian work permit for new or advanced studies
  • A permit that allows registering as an individual entrepreneur (self-employed) in Serbia, etc.
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For your reference: you cannot work in Serbia if you enter the country for a visa-free term of stay! Employment will require of you to get a short-term residence permit and a work permit on the basis of one reason only. You cannot combine a personal work permit with the one obtained from the employer.

Radna Dozvola in Serbia: Instructions for Personal Application

If you need to get a work permit (radna dozvola) in Serbia in 2023, please follow the instructions below:

  • First of all, get a residence permit in the Republic of Serbia. You can read our recommendations here or contact our experienced specialists for advice.
  • Prepare the documents for employment and obtaining a work permit:
    • Work permit application — for the self-employed, for study and development, for an independent specialist, etc. Individual entrepreneurs will need the Zahtev za izdavanje radne dozvole za samozapošljavanje option.
    • Foreign passport copy – the first page and the page with nalepnica (the Serbian temporary residence permit).
    • A copy of the last white cardboard and a passport page with a stamp about the visaran deadline (opportunity to extend a visa-free stay) or a certificate from the Ministry of Internal Affairs that serves as a Serbian residence permit.
    • Diploma of higher education or another proof of qualification sufficient for the job selected in Serbia.
    • A lease agreement or a certificate of ownership for the place where the individual entrepreneur’s activity will be carried out (copy).
    • Extract from the Serbian Registry of Commercial Entities (Registar privrednih subjekata) on individual entrepreneur’s registration.
    • Receipt of administrative fee payment.
  • Pay 2 fees:
    • Fee for request: RST 330.00
    • Work permit issuance fee: RST 14,360.00
  • Transfer all the documents to the NSZ (Nacionalna služba za zapošljavanje), the National Employment Agency.

If all steps have been taken in accordance with the instructions and requirements, you will soon get a work permit for a definite term that you can later extend. The application for extension is submitted not earlier than 30 days and no later than before expiration of the previous work permit.

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How can you obtain a residence permit by investment in real estate in Serbia and is there an opportunity to get one with the help of company registration? Get in touch with our specialists for a turnkey solution.

Work Permit Provided by a Serbian Employer

If the so-called radna dozvola is provided by the employer, the foreign citizen only needs to show the invitation letter upon entry to the Republic. All further steps to be taken to obtain a work permit will be the responsibility of the company’s head who will have to follow the procedure below:

  • Submission of an employment application for a particular vacancy to be filled (PPZ form) to the National Agency. The application is filed not earlier than 60 days and no later than 10 days before the date on which you submit an application for work permit issuance.
  • The National Agency checks the labor market for absence of relevant specialists in Serbia for 10 days and makes a report on employment need realization that will be required in the future to obtain a work permit by a foreign citizen.
  • The employer informs the National Agency about the foreign citizen’s employment procedure within 3 days and sends an application on work permit issuance with all required documentation.

Upon expiration of the employment contract that coincides with the work permit validity term, the employer may extend employment contracts or terminate them. In this situation, the employee has the right to get a new personal employment permit, get a residence permit on other grounds, or leave the Republic.

How Much Do Serbian Employers Pay to Local and Foreign Employees?

There is no difference between the amounts payable to foreign citizens employed for certain positions and the Serbs unless the salary is paid under the table and is not reflected in the employer company’s accounting reports. However, work without official employment in Serbia is prohibited by law as it violates the tax legislation norms and the Law on Foreign Migrants Employment.

In 2023, the minimum salary in Serbia is RSD 40,020, while the average salary across the country amounts to RSD 60,000.

How Much You Need to Earn in Serbia and Expats’ Real Salary

Foreign citizens that decided to move to Serbia can rest assured that they will get at least the minimum salary. Want more? It will depend on the sphere of your activity, specialization, and professionalism, and also on the quantity of the employer’s staff members.

Here are several practical examples:

  • Serbian micro-businesses where the number of staff members does not exceed 15 will pay the minimum salary established in the country or even less if you have staggered working hours and receive payment by the hour. 
  • Small enterprises with up to 100 employees pay an average salary of RSD 53,500 (455 euros) a month. 
  • Large companies with more than 250 employees offer vacancies with the salary starting from RSD 83,200 (710 euros) and more. 
  • If you find a job in the public sector, your salary will amount to about RSD 35,000 after the deduction of all insurance and medical fees, taxes, and other applicable payments.
  • Private entrepreneurs set their remuneration by themselves, and it may reach several thousand euros a month.

But the paradox is that this income is not sufficient for expats to live a comfortable life in a foreign country considering transport and accommodation expenses. The minimum amount required to live in Serbia currently amounts to at least 700 euros – and if you like having a good rest or want to comfortably live with children, your income should be 3 to 4 times higher than that.

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If you want to find out more details about the cost of life in Serbia, please read our article on housing, transport, and company maintenance costs.

How Much Foreigners and Locals Earn in Serbia

What salary can you expect to receive in Serbia if we look at separate professions and industries in 2023? We have combined the data from different Serbian platforms and feedback from real expats who have relocated to Serbia and found a job.

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If you want to have a really high income in Serbia, it is better to start your business there by using the assistance of experienced portal specialists.

COMPANY REGISTRATION SERVICES FROM OUR EXPERTS

Minimum Salary in Serbia

In 2023, the minimum salary in Serbia is RSD 40,020 (about 340 euros). This makes up about RSD 230.00 per hour of work (about 2 euros). And you see for yourself that this is a paltry sum…

Starting from January 1, 2023, the non-taxable part of the income will increase from RSD 19,300 to RSD 21,712. The remaining profit derived from sources in Serbia is taxable for residents and non-residents at the rate prevailing in the country.

Average Salary in Serbia in 2023

In 2022, the average salary in Serbia amounted to RSD 57,700 (490 euros). In 2023, the average income of salaried employees across the country is about RSD 60,000 (510 euros).

The employer company can increase or decrease the salary depending on the number of staff members, including below the minimum amount of labor remuneration set across the country. In the latter case, a decrease in salary in Serbia may be caused by incomplete or staggered working hours or other reasons that do not violate the labor regulations and rights of the working staff.

Company typeSalary in RSD
Large companies (from 250 and more employees)From RSD 83,000
Medium companies (up to 250 employees)From RSD 65,500
Small companies (up to 100 employees)From RSD 60,000
Micro-companies (up to 15 employees)Within the minimum amount of labor remuneration in Serbia 

For reference: the highest salaries in Serbia are paid to high-ranking officials, judges, Presidents of higher educational institutions, and private entrepreneurs, and the amount exceeds 2,000 euros. The lowest wages are paid to unqualified staff (cleaners, shop assistants), and they do not exceed the minimum amount of labor remuneration.

Salary of Public Administration Employees in Serbia

Below is the average remuneration payable to employees in court, notarial services sector, or public administration in Serbia in 2023 broken down by profession:

  • Head of the region – about 7,500 dollars
  • Serbian deputies – 3,050 dollars
  • Average salary of a Serbian official amounts to 2,500 dollars
  • Judges receive about 4,500 dollars
  • A private notary in Serbia gets about 6,000 a month, while a public one receives less (about 2,000 dollars)
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For reference: according to non-official data, the average subsistence rate in Serbia per one foreigner who has no property to live in is about 700 dollars a month. If you want to live comfortably, you will need to earn about 2,000 dollars.

Remuneration of Programmers and Other IT Specialists

In Serbia, an IT specialist can expect to get about RSD 78,000 a month.

ProfessionSalary in RSDSalary in euros
Go DeveloperRSD 109,400€930
Java DeveloperRSD 107,300€910
iOS DeveloperRSD 97,100€825
C# DeveloperRSD 93,400€795
Data ScientistRSD 93,400€795
Android DeveloperRSD 92,800€790
Python DeveloperRSD 87,500€745
C++ DeveloperRSD 86,400€735
.NET DeveloperRSD 83,200€705
PHP DeveloperRSD 77,400€660
Frontend DeveloperRSD 68,300€580
IT Project ManagerRSD 66,700€565

Self-employed programmers and freelance IT specialists receive much more:

  • programmer – up to $2,000
  • web developer – about $1,100
  • systems administrator – up to $1,000

Freelance work or work for a foreign employer is the option that brings the highest income for IT industry specialists. You can always register as an individual entrepreneur in the Balkans, receive income from different sources, and pay taxes.

Designer’s Salary

A designer in Serbia gets on average RST 60,000 thousand a month.

ProfessionSalary in RSDSalary in euros
UX/UI designerRSD 73,148€622 
Game designerRSD 73,087€622 
Interior designerRSD 65,095€554 
3D designerRSD 60,793€517 
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Regardless of the profession, we advise you to take care of your life in the Balkans and buy real estate at an affordable price with the help of our competent specialists.

REAL PROPERTIES IN SERBIA: OFFERS FROM INTERNATIONAL WEALTH

How Much Teachers and Educators Earn in Serbia

The average salary in the Serbian sphere of education is RSD 88,000 (760 euros).

ProfessionSalary in RSDSalary in euros
President of a higher educational institutionRSD 294,447€2,508 
College DirectorRSD 186,729€1,590 
HeadmasterRSD 100,537€856 
College LecturerRSD 76,134€648 
Lecturer at a higher educational institutionRSD 68,785€586 
School TeacherRSD 66,642€567 
Tutorfrom RSD 46,219from €393 
Translatorfrom RSD 44,611From € 380 

Salary Paid in the Serbian Financial Sector

The average salary in the Serbian accounting is RSD 62,707 (534 euros), and the level of labor remuneration is dependent on the position held:

  • Trader – RSD 95,668
  • Auditor – RSD 70,944
  • Chief Accountant – RSD 68,785
  • Crediting Manager – RSD 65,570
  • Financial Analyst – RSD 58,574
  • Accountant – RSD 52,664
  • Specialist in External Economic Activity – RSD 49,985
  • Economist – RSD 49,449

For reference: you can order the services of accountants and auditors at our portal if you register your company abroad. 

How Much Office Workers Earn in Serbia

Office workers don’t get paid much in the Balkans: sales managers and HR directors get the maximum income (700 — 800 dollars), while secretaries get the minimum (300 dollars). However, if you hold the lawyer’s position, you can expect to get up to 1,000 dollars a month, or up to 2,000 dollars if you work for a foreign company on a remote basis.

Salaries in the Serbian Legal Sector

The average labor remuneration for lawyers in 2023 amounts to RSD 95,684 (815 euros). Judges receive the maximum amount (2,800 euros), while the lawyer’s assistant receives the lowest salary (280 euros). Practice shows that you get the highest remuneration if you work as a self-employed legal counselor in a private company that provides services to foreign and local employers, including in the field of international law and customs issues.

Remuneration of Medical Staff in Serbia

As of February 1, 2023, medical workers in Serbia get 800 dollars on average. The level of remuneration is broken down by professions as follows:

  • The chief doctor at a polyclinic in Serbia receives a salary of about $1,700
  • Generalist gets about $820
  • Surgeons in Serbia get from 1,000 to 1,500 dollars a month
  • Nurses receive $600 on average

Private clinics set their own remuneration level, of course, that directly depends on the doctor’s professional skills and the client base.

How Much Cooks, Baristas, and Waiters Get in Serbia

If we take public catering, the salary in Serbia can be quite sufficient for a foreigner to live a comfortable life if you have enough experience, know Serbian, and have a work permit. For instance, a cook can get up to 1,000 dollars a month, a barista – around 700 dollars, a waiter in Serbia can get about 550 dollars, and a kitchen worker can expect to get at least 400 — 500 dollars a month.

How Much You Can Get in Serbia as a Builder

It largely depends on your profession. On average, remuneration in the building area in Serbia ranges between 600 and 1500 US dollars a month. The highest salary is paid to the foreman and engineer, while a handyman will get the lowest income ($600).

How Much Sales Experts and Drivers Get in Serbia

Sales experts in Serbia (much like in any other place) earn just enough to make both ends meet: a cashier gets about $420, while a store manager receives around $800.

The salary in the transportation area makes on average 450 dollars a month, with the highest salary payable to a taxi driver ($1,000), and the minimum one to be received by a car mechanic ($500).

Other Working Professions in Serbia: Remuneration Level in 2023

Here are some working professions in Serbia available to migrants without any start-up capital and higher education:

  • plumber – $380
  • electrician – $410
  • janitor / cleaner – $300
  • nurse, chambermaid – up to $800

Non-qualified workers receive the lowest wages in Serbia, which should be taken into account if you move to the Balkans without a higher education diploma or a stable source of income.

What Are the Best Payment Methods in Serbia?

This question may be asked not only by the ordinary citizens who relocated to the Balkans but also by foreign employers that started their businesses in Serbia. The payment option may differ depending on the payment purpose:

  • How to pay salaries to your employees in Serbia? You can only use RSD (dinars) if this is a local citizen, but you can use any currency if we are talking about foreign employees. In the first case, you pay in cash at the cash desk (though it happens rarely), or you charge the amount to the account or card in a Serbian bank. If you pay for the foreign employee’s services, the remuneration is charged to the account specified in the agreement that can be opened in a Serbian or a foreign bank. The important thing here is to take into consideration the salary tax deduction and any applicable benefits.
  • How to pay in Serbian cafes and shops? They accept dinars only in any possible way – in cash or by card.
  • How to pay when you buy real estate in Serbia? You will need to transfer the funds from the buyer’s account to the payer’s account in RSD. The amount paid can be specified in any currency, but the funds are charged in the local currency only, which will make it possible to calculate the tax rate and other payments. You can buy accommodation in Serbia for dollars or euros, but it depends on the agent. For example, we accept all kinds of currencies, including Bitcoin, and also help our customers open multicurrency accounts where the currency is converted quickly and at the maximum profitable rate.
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If you have any questions on Serbia, salary, banking sector, and residence permit/permanent residence programs, please take a look at our offers and useful materials in the Serbia section or write to us directly using the contacts specified on the portal.

Where Can I Find a Job in Serbia?

The job that a foreigner can get in Serbia will directly determine his or her level of income, so this is a question of utmost importance. You may be frustrated to hear that it will be hard to get a job if you don’t speak Serbiaт. Also, there are a lot of people looking for a job in the Balkans, which inevitably results in fewer offers from employers.

Here are a few pieces of advice based on the experience of expats who have spent some time in Serbia now:

  • It is better to look for a job in Serbia directly or via Internet platforms, such as LinkedIn, as well as local newspapers and groups in social media.
  • If we take those who have just arrived in Serbia, programmers and freelancers that can work from any part of the globe have the highest salary. Most immigrants recommend this format, including in the sphere of international business.
  • If you have some savings, you can open a start-up in Serbia and register your company, which is also a promising way to increase your income.
  • Don’t give in to illusions: you will not have a high salary right after relocation if you intend to find a local job. All you can expect is low-paid working professions, including janitor, chambermaid, handyman, etc. This income will be hardly enough to pay the rent and buy some food.
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If you want to register a company in Serbia or open a foreign business subsidiary, write to us at [email protected] and get a comprehensive package of services from professionals.

What is the average salary in Serbia?

The average monthly salary in Serbia in 2023 makes up 400 — 500 euros, while the minimum wages are RSD 40,020 (about 340 euros). Entrepreneurs, drivers, deputies, judges, cooks, bakers, and programmers receive the highest income, ranging from 800 to 7,000 dollars a month.

What place does Serbia occupy by living standards?

In 2022, Serbia took 55th place among the countries of the world by living standards. Just to compare it with others, China takes 65th place, while the first three places are given to Switzerland, Denmark, and Netherlands, respectively. The countries closest to Serbia are Tunisia and Kuwait

What sources of income are there in Serbia?

Start your own business (register a Limited Liability Company or become an individual entrepreneur), become a freelancer (to work remotely), work in the beauty or services sphere, get a cook’s job if you have proper training, or provide a guide’s or an interpreter’s services as these are the areas that enjoy the highest popularity in 2022-2023. Programmers and IT specialists also get a high income in Serbia.

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