Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kosovo-Albanians try to claim residence in South Serbia for Serb passports

Matt Becker
With the European Union decision to lift visa requirements for citizens of Serbia ( starting on 19 December 2009, many Kosovo-Albanians are now attempting to claim residence in South Serbia -- mainly in the Albaninan-majority towns of Bujanovac and Presevo. The new visa regime does not apply to residents of Kosovo who hold Serbian passports. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Eshref Duraku is one of the disappointed applicants from Kosovo. "Coming from Gnjilan, in southeast Kosovo, he had no prior connection to Southern Serbia but says a man from Bujanovac agreed to register him at his own address as a subtenant. 'My only goal was to get a Serbian passport to use the right to travel without a visa regime,' he admits. 'I wanted to visit relatives in Austria and find a job there.' He did not succeed. Police in the nearest big town in Southern Serbia, Vranje, denied his request for permanent resident status in Bujanovac" ( The Speaker of the Bujanovac Assembly, Jonuz Musliu, says he is not concerned about the plight of born Kosovars who want to apply for residence in Serbia simply to have a Serb passport.
The majority of applications have been turned down by the police, who cite "...Article 4 of the Act on Residence and Dwelling. This defines residence as a place where a citizen is accommodated with an intention of staying for good. 'Article 5 of the same act says that when changing residence, citizens are obliged to submit correct data.... Having in mind that a lot of requests for a change of residence have been submitted lately - not with the intention of permanent residence - in order to prevent registering fictitious addresses… the competent authorities are entitled to decide whether a person has filed a request in order to get a job, get married or something similar, and if the conditions have not been met, the request will be denied....'" (

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