There are currently 80,000 foreign citizens with permanent or temporary residence in Montenegro. What is that number is best illustrated by the fact that the municipality of Nikšić has approximately the same number of inhabitants.
The data show that 30,265 foreign citizens are permanently resident in Montenegro, while 48,896 are temporarily resident, the Ministry of the Interior reports. More than 27,000 permits for temporary residence and work were issued this year. This figure exceeded the record from 2018.
Migration is a complex social phenomenon. Experts estimate that foreigners in Montenegro influence the birth rate, mortality, and changes in the biological and socio-economic structures of the population.
Mirza Mulešković, an economic analyst, points out that as part of international developments, especially caused by the crisis in Ukraine, Montenegro has not been bypassed by the trends of a large influx of foreigners.
“The data that tell us about this warn us that the state must take much more account of this issue, especially from the demographic structure, but also the economic inclusion of foreigners. It is clear that in the area of the economy, Montenegro has recorded an increase in the number of new companies whose founders are foreign citizens, as well as a large number of employees who are not citizens of Montenegro. Such data have both positive and negative repercussions for the economy. On the one hand, the creation of new jobs greatly supports the public finances of Montenegro, strengthens entrepreneurship, but also motivates the citizens of Montenegro to start their own businesses”, explains Mulešković for Sputnjik.
On the other hand, as he says, there are possible problems due to the filling of vacancies with foreign nationals compared to domestic ones.
“Also, something that was interesting was the increase in real estate prices and real estate rentals caused by the arrival of Ukrainian and Russian citizens due to the war. These are situations in which the costs of doing business and living in Montenegro rise. The state must create a clear management policy for such situations, through which it will see how to use the current situation in the most efficient way in order to improve the state of public finances, but also to create a business environment that will be more favorable”, comments Mulešković.
Our interlocutor points out that it is also very important from the point of view of demography to observe these trends and to adopt policies that will be aligned with current trends.
Foreigners and citizens of Serbian nationality
Vesko Pejak from the NGO Alternativa points to an important phenomenon when it comes to the category of “foreign citizens” in Montenegro.
“At the moment, people who have spent their entire lives in the country, completed primary and secondary education here, and some even university, are being treated as foreigners in Montenegro. There are at least 30,000 of those citizens and they are considered ‘non-adjusted’, that is, as citizens who were not ready to vote for DPS. They are mostly citizens of Serbian nationality, but there are also Roma, Croats and Bosniaks in some cases. Their status could have been resolved by the state in five minutes on one sheet of A4, but that did not happen because the political image of Montenegro would have completely changed. Because 30,000 new voters are at least three parliamentary seats. That’s a lot when you see that the government in Montenegro is decided by two or three deputies”, Pejak points out for Sputnik.
According to Pejak, these people are often forgotten by their home country — Serbia. As he says, millions of euros are allocated for the Serbian representatives in Montenegro, while not a single cent goes to the legal settlement of those citizens.
“Alternative Montenegro has solved a few hundred of those cases since the beginning of 2022 completely free of charge, even though we don’t have a single cent in the budget and even though it takes a lot of time that we spend helping the workers of Montenegro. There are funny cases, like say that no woman has citizenship of Montenegro because her mother gave birth in Dubrovnik and because Herceg Novi did not have a maternity hospital at that time. Then imagine how a person who has lived his whole life in Montenegro, who has never been outside the country for more than a month, who is 35 years old and does not have citizenship of this country, feels. Funny but true. And there are many such cases. Too much,” Pejak claimed for Sputnik.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the request for temporary residence for citizens of these two countries has also increased. Thus, since the beginning of the year, temporary residence has been approved for 7,411 Russians and 1,835 Ukrainians. When these figures are added to the number of those who were granted temporary residence in the previous period, we arrive at 14,606 Russian citizens, and 1,979 Ukrainian citizens.
After citizens of Russia, this year the most temporary stays were granted to citizens of Turkey, followed by Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
The Podgorica neighborhood City Quarter is a favorite among foreigners who currently reside in the capital of Montenegro. Due to the demand for apartments, rents have increased by 50 to 60 percent, and in the nearby supermarket, cashiers are also forced to learn foreign languages in order to understand customers.
There are 5,230 children whose parents are foreigners in Montenegrin schools
The Ministry of Education replied to Sputnik that foreigners from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Argentina, and other countries are included in the Montenegrin education system. At the moment, 5,230 children from other countries attend preschool, primary and secondary school education in private and state educational institutions.
Most of them are from Russia – 1,668, Serbia – 1,561, Ukraine – 513.
As for other countries, the Ministry of Education specifies that there are 129 students from Turkey involved in the Montenegrin education process, from Argentina – 4, from Australia and Austria – 6 each, from Azerbaijan – 7, from Israel – fifteen children, from Kazakhstan – 28, from Cuba – 4. , Germany – 72, United Kingdom – 30.
The Ministry of Education, that Is, educational institutions in Montenegro, announce that they use guidelines for the inclusion of students from other speaking areas. Foreign citizens who have temporary residence or permanent residence in our country are equal in exercising their right to education with Montenegrin citizens.
“Successful and meaningful inclusion of students from other speaking areas in quality education is not only about giving them the opportunity to learn, i.e. to meet their academic needs, but also activities related to solving their social and emotional needs are necessary. The integration of these students into the education system can be seen through three dimensions: learning needs — language learning, adaptation to the new education system; social needs – communication, experience of belonging and connectedness; emotional needs — safety, overcoming anxiety and insecurity.
In order to apply this comprehensive approach in practice, it is necessary to deal with several aspects: the organization of work in educational institutions; implementation of teaching-individual support; recommendations for assuming responsibility in the implementation of the teaching process”, Sputnik was told from that department.