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Serbia open to all returnees from abroad

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said today that the expatriation of young and educated people is a problem faced by even much more developed countries than Serbia and that the only way to prevent this is to build a society based on the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Hosting the “Talent Gathering 2.0” conference, organised by the national platform “Serbia Creates”, Brnabic underlined that such a society must be open to all those who went abroad and now want to return.

Also, she added, such a society must be open to those who have successful careers abroad, but want to contribute to Serbia, as well as to those who live, work and create in Serbia and thanks to whom Serbia is part of the world today.

I know that we have very talented, creative and successful people and that is why it is important for the government to have good communication with its diaspora so that the young people could stay in the country and some of them return, she said.

Brnabic noted that the smartest governments are those that listen and recognise good ideas and suggestions and recalled that she launched a format of communication through the “Talent Gathering” last year.

“We are holding the same conference now only because we achieved results,” she said, adding that last year the main goal was to resolve the issue of validation of foreign diplomas.

She explained that to that end the government adopted a bill that was submitted to the parliamentary procedure, and on the basis of which the procedure for recognising a foreign diploma will be reduced from 90 to 60 days only.

According to Brnabic, an electronic system of diploma validation will be introduced as of 1 January.

Another major problem was the customs duties on the import of the returnees’ personal property, which is why, she explained, we amended the Decree on Customs Benefits, so that the previous limit for duty-free import of €5,000 has been increased to €20,000 if the returnee spent up to ten years abroad.

For those living abroad for more than ten years the limit has been abolished completely.

Thirdly, representatives of the diaspora requested the formation of a platform for communication and obtaining the necessary information. That is why we started the project “Point of Return”, where each person will be interviewed individually and where the returnees can get an answer to each question, Brnabic explained.

In addition, she noted, the government, in cooperation with the National Bank of Serbia, has developed a Financial Guide for Returnees, and special tax incentives have been introduced for the employment of returnees and foreigners.

Director of the “Point of Return” Ivan Brkljac called on everyone who need any kind of information or assistance during repatriation to get in touch with this organisation.

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