New changes to Law no 108/2013, “On Foreigners”
On 12 February 2020 the Albanian Parliament introduced Law no. 13/2020, which was published in the Official Journal on March 10. The new law has presented some changes to Law no. 108/2013 ‘On Foreigners’ mainly by facilitating procedures for expats foreigners in Albania regarding visa, residence and work permits.
The government is expected to adopt by-laws in order to implement such changes, in the upcoming months.
- Introducing the electronic visa!
According to the old rules the foreigners needed to appear personally near the embassies or consulates in order to obtain the visa. The application was possible on-line but the visa was only issued in hard-copy form as a stamp on the passport. This required the personal presence of the foreigner at the Albanian embassy/consulate. Now this is no longer necessary.
Once the visa has been approved it can be printed in electronic format without having the need to get it stamped at the embassy/consulate.
- Changes to Residence Permit process
The new changes have significantly reduced the processing time for residence permits. Instead of the 60 days period as per the old law, now the residence permit shall be issued within 30 days from the date of application.
- Changes to Work Permit process
The new law has also facilitated the procedure for obtaining a work permit. According to the previous Law the foreign citizens had to wait 30 days for the response of their application. Now the Work Permit shall be issued within 10 days from the day of the application.
Also, the obligation to advertise the job-vacancy for 4 calendar weeks, before being able to hire a foreign citizen, has been removed by the new changes. This has made the process of hiring foreign staff much easier. Now, the advertisement of the job vacancy shall be done by the public authorities, not by the applicant, and only for a period of 7 calendar days. While the application for the new foreign employee’s work permit can be submitted immediately, without any limitation.
EXEMPTIONS: According to the new changes citizens of European Union and Schengen countries, citizens of one of the countries of the Western Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Northern Macedonia, and also foreigners employed in various sectors with the aim of regulating the consequences and recovery from natural disasters, are exempt from the obligation to obtain work permits and work registration certificates and enjoy equal rights with Albanian citizens in the field of employment and self-employment, according to the provisions of the Labor Code.
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