The geolocation of Serbia makes it a region of transit for those travelling to Western Europe by land; very few individuals choose to stay and apply for asylum. However, the onward journey to Western Europe has been affected by the war in Ukraine, leading to an increase in refugees in Serbia. According to the authorities, 6,254 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants were accommodated in governmental centres at the end of August, a 24% increase compared to the same period of the previous year.
Serbia has 7 Asylum Centres and 12 Reception Centres. To be able to stay in an Asylum Centre, one must be registered with the intent to apply for asylum, whilst Reception Centres tend to be nearer the border regions and have more flexible policies where registration certificates are not required. Under Serbia’s Asylum Act, a ‘foreigner’ is not protected by the right to accommodation until they have applied for asylum. Serbian government reception facilities are at capacity, resulting in poor hygiene conditions and a lack of access to privacy.