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Info session on importance of the displaced persons’ status revision

KONIK, Friday, April 1st – The Acting Representative of UNHCR office in Montenegro, Katja Saha, took part in an information session on the urgency and importance of displaced and internally displaced persons to apply for a new legal status before the 7 November 2011 deadline, organized by the Government in the Konik camp. The Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Dr. Suad Numanovic opened the session that was also attended by the leading Government officials dealing with displaced and internally displaced persons from Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo living in the Konik area – Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Snezana Mijušković, Deputy Interior Minister Osman Subasic and Director of the Bureau for Care of Refugees Zeljko Sofranac, as well as the Vice President of the Red Cross of Montenegro Slobodan Kalezic.

For a number of displaced and internally displaced persons, who attended the sessio, it was a chance to learn on the importance and urgency to regulate their status in Montenegro. They were explained the procedure for obtaining the status of foreigner with permanent residence or the status of foreigner with temporary residence, should they not meet the procedural requirements for the permanent residence. The group was also informed about the documents required to obtain the new status.

Stating that similar info sessions are planned in other regions of Montenegro, Minster Numanović highlighted the importance of regulating their stay in Montenegro. “Your integration through obtaining the legal status of foreigner is a high priority for our Government, and we are here today to inform you about your possibilities in this regard.” – said Minister Numanovic. He reminded of all the steps the Government has taken so far and urged displaced and internally displaced persons to take more active part: “I am not satisfied with the level of your engagement; you need to take more energetic action in collecting personal documents in order to be able to apply and obtain the new status.”

The UNHCR Acting Representative Katja Saha pointed out that not only Government and UNHCR, but the broad international community is engaged in finding solutions for resolving problem of the displaced persons’ status.

“The legal status is a prerequisite for local integration and for gaining permanent access to all other rights such as employment, health and social protection. It is highly important that you apply as soon as you are able to collect the necessary documents. To be able to help you with your local integration, we need you to regulate your stay in Montenegro.” – said Saha and encouraged the displaced persons to use the opportunity of the info session to inform the Government representatives on all the challenges and dilemmas they face in this regard. ‘’The UNHCR is opened for all the support we can provide to you in addressing this issue.” – Saha concluded.

Deputy Interior Minister Osman Subašić reminded displaced persons about the deadline for obtaining new status: “After November 7th, any of you who do not obtain new status will be considered as a person who is illegally in Montenegro. I appeal to you to engage yourself in obtaining necessary documents in your countries or origin. Also, the proactive approach of the countries you come from is very important in this process.” – said Subašić.

In direct communications that followed, the displaced persons living in Vrela Ribnička camp expressed their vision on main challenges in obtaining necessary documents for applying to the status of foreigner with permanent residence. The Government representatives stated that the new informative materials in Roma and Albanian language will be distributed, in order to help internally displaced Roma, Askhalie and Egyptian to better understand the legal requirement and procedure.

 

Information for displaced persons from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and internally displaced persons form Kosovo with regard to the revision of their status in Montenegro.

The Parliament of Montenegro passed the Law on Amending the Law on Foreigners on 30 October 2009. The implementation of the Law started on 7 November 2009.

The Law creates a mechanism for displaced persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo to apply for the status of foreigner with permanent or temporary residence in Montenegro until 7 November 2011.
Displaced persons and internally displaced persons who are Montenegrin citizens, should regulate permanent residence in Montenegro (national ID card) before this deadline, as displaced person status will cease to exist after this date.

Permanent residence

Request for permanent residence can be submitted to  MOI branch office in the place where a displaced person has registered sojourn. Permanent residence is issued for an undetermined period.
DPs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia or IDPs from Kosovo are entitled to submit request for permanent residence.
For acquisition of the status of a foreigner with permanent residence a displaced person from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia should submit:
• Application for permanent residence which can be obtained at MOI branch office;
• Certified copy of a valid travel document issued by the country of origin;
• Certified copy of displaced persons ID card issued by the MOI;
• Certificate issued by the Asylum Office prooving that s/he had valid displaced person status on the day 7 November 2009;
• A proof that s/he did not receive a final and enforceable sentence in Montenegro for a criminal offence which is subject of an ex officio prosecution, or that procedure for such a criminal offence has been initiated;
• Birth certificate and citizenship certificate.

For the acquisition of the status of a foreigner with permanent residence an internally displaced person from Kosovo should submit:
• Application for permanent residence which can be obtained in the MOI Branch office;
• Certified copy of a valid travel document issued by the country of origin;
• Certified copy of IDP ID card, issued by the Bureau for the Care of Refugees;
• Certificate issued by the Bureau for the Care of Refugees prooving that s/he was re-registered as IDP in 2009;
• A proof that s/he did not receive a final and enforceable sentence in Montenegro for a criminal offence which is subject of an ex officio prosecution, or that procedure for such a criminal offence has been initiated;
• Birth certificate and citizenship certificate.

Temporary residence

All persons displaced from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo who do not have a valid travel document  can submit a request for temporary residence within the same deadline (until 7 November 2011). Temporary residence in Montenegro can be granted for a period until a valid travel document is obtained, but not longer than three years. For those individuals who do not obtain travel document within these three years temporary residence will cease to exist and they will be considered as individuals unlawfully staying in Montenegro.
For acquisition of the status of a foreigner with temporary residence a displaced or internally displaced person should submit:
• A request for temporary residence which can be obtained at MOI branch office;
• Certified copy of DP/IDP ID card, issued respectively by the Ministry of Interior,  or the Bureau for the Care of Refugees;
• Certificate issued by the Asylum Office prooving that s/he had valid displaced person status on the day 7 November 2009, or certificate issued by the Bureau for the Care of Refugees prooving that s/he was re-registered as IDP in 2009;
• A proof that s/he did not receive a final and enforceable sentence in Montenegro for a criminal offence which is subject of an ex officio prosecution, or that procedure for such a criminal offence has been initiated;
• Birth certificate.

MOI shall decide on the request for permanent – temporary residence within 60 days from the day of submission, if not otherwise prescribed by the Law.

ID Card for foreigners

Adult I/DPs granted permanent or temporary residence shall submit a request for issuance of ID card for foreigners within 30 days from the date such residence has been granted. The validity of the ID card for foreigners granted permanent residence is 5 years. The ID card for foreigners granted temporary residence is valid until the expiry of the period for which temporary residence was granted.

Administrative taxes

The administrative tax for the status of foreigner with permanent residence is 10 EUR.
The administrative tax for the status of foreigner with temporary residence is 10 EUR.
Both taxes are charged per person.
The administrative tax for ID card is 10 EUR.
In addition to these taxes there are other, smaller taxes, for issuance/certification of other required documents.

Rights attached to the status

According to the Law on Foreigners persons granted permanent or temporary residence are entitled to the following rights:
 Work and employment;
 Education and professional training;
 Recognition of diplomas and certificates;
 Social assistance, health and pension insuarance;
 Tax relief;
 Access to the market of goods and service;
 Freedom of association, integration, and memberships in organizations which represent the interests of workers or employers.

While the enjoyment of some of these rights is possible in this moment (e.g. right to work and employment for persons granted permanent residence), for the enjoyment of other rights relevant legislation has to be harmonized with the Law on Foreigners.

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