User’s photos, Nebojša Nenadić

User’s photos, Nebojša Nenadić

The IAS group, a huge (and, of course, private) German company, which operates in workplace safety and has over 130 offices around Germany and over 1,200 employees, recently advertised hiring 30 doctors of general medicine to work in Munich, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg, Dresden, Manheim, Karlsruhe, etc.

Just as a (fortunate) coincidence, a German who is very inclined to Serbia happened to be working in that company. He suggested they look for those 30 doctors in Serbia, instead of Ukraine and Slovakia, and suggested that the IAS group should publish an ad in „the oldest newspapers in the Balkans” – Politika.

Besides this lobbying by „our German“, the idea to hire doctors from Serbia coincided with the general climate of improved bilateral relations between Germany and Serbia, as well as the upcoming (June 23rd) visit of German chancellor Angela Merkel and increased economic cooperation.

Then, the HR department of the IAS group tried to place an appropriate ad for 30 doctors of general medicine. The requirements were:

Proficiency in German (B2), at least two years of experience in general medicine or as an internist, basic knowledge of MS Office, willingness to work in the field and a driver’s license.

The IAS group’s HR department contacted a company called Ankerst, working in international representation of publishers, presentations and advertising in printed and electronic media, on the internet, but also on billboards, whose portfolio consists of, among others, Delo, Jutarnji list, Slobodna Dalmacija, Dnevni Avaz, Oslobodjenje, Vecernje Novosti, Blic, Politika, Vijesti, Pobjeda, Kapital, Nova Makedonija, etc.

But the idea to advertise in the „oldest newspaper in the Balkans“ didn’t work.

Why, when everything seemed perfect and there seemed to be no problems for those 30 doctors from Serbia to get a job in a respectable German company?

An article, which Ankerst published on its website, said that the conditions for advertising in the „oldest newspaper in the Balkans” had one insurmountable obstacle for any German employer, including the IAS group.

The article said that the „oldest newspaper in the Balkans“ will except job advertisements “only from companies registered (and working) in Serbia or companies which plan to do so”.

So, others – like the IAS group – can’t place advertisements in the „oldest newspapers in the Balkans“ offering jobs abroad to Serbian citizens.

Ankerst’s conclusion about these conditions is interesting, apparently written by someone with a sense of humor and a fan of our president: “This is our state’s way of preventing trained professionals from leaving the country and looking for jobs abroad where they earn more”.

And so, thanks to a closed border and conditions for advertising, 30 doctors of general medicine from Serbia are left empty handed.

Can the „oldest newspaper in the Balkans“, the president of our state, conditions, rules, etc. prevent doctors/trained professionals from looking for jobs in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, etc.?

They can.

That’s why it’s no wonder that an anti-European stench keeps coming from some (mainly the oldest) “Augean stables”. Supposedly, it’s an attempt to defend Serbia from the European market demon, while, actually, it’s done in order to prevent free movement and stop trained professionals from earning a livelihood in accordance with their qualifications and skills.

Are the doctors fleeing Serbia?

Of course they are.

According to the Medical chamber’s data, 250 good standing certificates were issued until mid-May this year, a document which is necessary for applying to jobs abroad. In 2014, 927 of these certificates were issued – three times as much as in 2012, when the most certificates were issued to doctors of medicine (161).

Do I need to remind you about the average salary of a specialist in Serbia? About 50,000 dinars. Just enough to make everybody look across the border.

Although the IAS group’s ad didn’t say anything about the salary, it’s not hard to find some basic information about that. Annual salary of a doctor of general medicine is between EUR 46,726 and 58,667. And annual salary of a specialist in occupational medicine is between EUR 59,187 and 74,762. Additional 8% bonus for achieving 100% of the work plan is promised, as well as an additional monthly contribution to work fund of EUR 13,30 (that sum is given to an employee when he/she retires, without any taxes).

So, since the conditions didn’t allow the publishing of the IAS group’s advertisement in Serbia, it was published on its website and in countries neighboring Germany,

Trained medical professional usually leave Serbia at their own initiative or in agreement with some medical establishment in an EU country. And that is how it’s going to be until relations between Serbia and the EU are settled and the unwritten rules of the president and the written rules of the „oldest newspapers in the Balkans” are avoided.

Various anachronous – both written and unwritten – rules can’t last forever.

But, as long as they do, doctors and other trained professions will continue to be hired by illegal agencies. They will also continue to work abroad under inhumane conditions. And when something tragic happens and exposes such human trafficking (Russia, Libya), politicians and the media will make a fuss and pretend to care.

EU accession of Serbia will solve the problem of the doctors, as well as other trained professionals who will be able to look for jobs legally, in accordance with the demand and offered salaries.

In a system like that, any European company will be able to hire any authorized advertising agency and publish a job ad for any kind of trained professionals in any newspapers in Serbia.

That is the safest road to ensure that these people work legally and that they don’t get cheated at their places of destination.

Legal employment is a standard promoted and implemented by the labor laws of the European Union.

Someone in Serbia doesn’t like that.

And, so, they make up rules to drown the right to work and the right of free movement of workers.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 22.06.2015.