Country migration profile by Migreurop : Serbia
Since the 1960s, Serbia has been primarily the country of emigration : like hundreds of thousands citizens of ex-Yugoslavia, Serbians migrated to the countries of Western Europe, as temporary or “guest” workers (gastarbeiter). During the conflicts following the break-down of Yugoslavia, there were both many people who sought safety in Serbia and many Serbians who left to go to the countries of Western Europe. The term “refugee” (izbeglica) is now used to refer to people, most often of Serbian ethnicity, who fled Bosnia and Croatia and sought refuge in Serbia. It is estimated that there are around 86 000 Bosnian and Croatian refugees, as well as 206 000 internally-displaced persons who fled the armed conflicts in Kosovo, living in Serbia, many of whom still live in so called collective centres they were accommodated in when they first arrived, and face obstacles in their integration with the rest of the society. They remain most the visible and represented group of “migrants” in Serbia.
Serbia is a good example of a country, which has been turned into a “buffer” zone of the Fortress Europe, through the externalisation of the EU migration policy onto Serbia. While Serbia has been a country of transit for migrants from Asia and Africa, the number of non-ex-Yugoslav migrants stuck in Serbia has been increasing in the recent years, due to the increasing pressures from the European Union (EU) for Serbia to harmonise its policies with the EU migration policies. Since the 1st of March 2012, Serbia is officially a candidate to join the EU .