Immigration of Roma from Republic of Serbia

[Independent Researcher]

The questions of immigration are topics of high interest for the contemporary migration studies. Particularly relevant for the Western European countries is the immigration of Roma. This study analyzes the case of Roma asylum-seekers from Republic of Serbia to Federal Republic of Germany, which assumed a new dimension following the visa liberation. Focus of this article are the links among the social, economical, transitional and political conditions of Roma asylum-seeking, as well as an analysis of potential networks and knowledge transfer among Roma. In particular is to be understand if there is any transnational networking between Roma in home countries and abroad as well if Roma asylum-seekers have to be seen as perpetrators or rather victims of the political occurrences in the concerning country.

Keywords: Roma; Republic of Serbia; immigration; irregular migration; asylum; politics


The existing literature on contemporary migration flows from South Eastern European territory, especially from Republic of Serbia, regarding Roma population focus mainly on questions such as poverty, education, etc (Guy: 2009, Cvjetićanin, Srdić: 2011). However, not much information is available about the linkage of migration to the politics and to the government of particular country (Sievers: 2012). The latest events regarding the transitional and election1 period in Republic of Serbia raises the question of absence of freedom of voting for Roma living there. According to one interviewed person for this article2 and according to relevant Internet posts3, Roma in Republic of Serbia are often paid to vote for a particular political party.

The intention of present study is to examine structures and possible networks in the immigration population of Roma, in particular the ones migrating from Republic of Serbia to Federal Republic of Germany in the previous three years, since visa liberalisation, started in December 2009. The study is based on qualitative research, using interviews with two focus groups. The first focus group contained experts from the following fields: state authority representatives, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), police representatives, researchers, scientists, politicians and journalists. The second focus group included people affected by the research problematic - Roma in their home country who experienced migration in the last years. Roma representatives in Republic of Serbia were interviewed in a one-week field phase in June 2011.

One of the first questions is how many asylum requests of the Roma are unfounded. Roma mostly achieve a low education level4; many of them are illiterate and not integrated in any homeland community5. Under such assumptions, an important question is how they get on the idea to ask for asylum in another country, also considering that some of them were previously never abroad. If the asylum-seeker request is unfounded, there could be some external or internal help, illegally suggesting asylum-seeking as a way to avoid the correct immigration law procedure. A central question for my field research therefore was: are there any organizations, groups or individuals that help the Roma form the idea to request asylum? And furthermore, why do some Roma seek asylum in Germany, as opposed to countries that are geographically closer to their home country (e.g. Hungary, Austria)?

Historical Overview

Examination of census results6 in the previous decades regarding Roma population in Serbia follows. In the census years 1953 and 1961, Republic of Serbia was, including the two autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo, a part of SFRY7: for the mentioned two census years a peculiar difference in the population numbers can be noticed. In Republic of Serbia in 1953, according to the census, there were 58,800 Roma, i.e. 0.9% of the whole Serbian population, but only eight years later, in 1961, merely 9,826 Roma, i.e. 0.1% of the whole population, were counted. By taking a closer look at the numbers for the three main regions, in 1953 0.8% of the whole population of inner part of Serbia were Roma, but in 1961 only 0.1% of the whole population, in the Autonomous province of Vojvodina in 1953 0.7% of the population were Roma, and in 1961 0.2% of the population. In the population of the Autonomous province of Kosovo in 1953 there were 1.5% Roma, in year 1961 only 0.3%.

If these numbers are taken literally, this would mean that Roma experienced a dramatical decrease of population to one sixth in the territory of Serbia over eight years. However, there could be additional explanations for such an unusual demographical development. According to Ivančević8 the number of Roma in Yugoslavia had actually at no time gone back: the same can be reasonably expected for Serbia. The previously mentioned decrease could be attributed to different opting possibilities in the context of the census for Roma: the choice of a possibility over another can be easily subject to strong external influences, in particular from the political establishment. Roma have shown the most extreme fluctuations in both directions (at census) because of their inferior social status and slow awakening of ethnic consciousness. They have often opted for the nationality of the community in which they live (.).9 According to Čvorović10, Roma people adapt themselves to religious and political changes, and their religious and political standings always depend on the current politics.

According to the census from 197111, 49,89412 people living in Serbia chose to be included in the ethnical group of Roma. Ten years later, according to the census from 198113 110,95914 Roma lived Serbia, more than doubling the numbers from 10 years earlier. Furthermore, in former Yugoslavia an official distinction was made between ‘state’ nations and nationalities. Apart from this distinction, some republican constitutions used also a third category – ethnic groups, reserved for minor ethnic groups, Roma being by far the largest. The first two categories had specific political rights: ‘state’ nations had their own republics; nationalities did not because they possessed their ‘own’ national states outside Yugoslavia. The third category remained a very vague constitutional concept, without specific rights.15 The census data about Roma residing in former Yugoslavia, or Serbia are apparently very unreliable, and are likely underreported. According to Ivančević16, the cause of such discrepancy was the census options. The Yugoslavian census gave the possibility to opt free for the particular nation, nationality or ethnic group. That opting possibility occurs often because of the mother tongue, but also because of the religious belongings. Often happens that Yugoslavian Roma17 opt for one other national or ethnic group because of the felling of belonging to it due to the historical occurrences (Hughes, 2011:6ff, Van Evera, 2001). According to Ivančević, there was one positive vogue after 1970 that Roma free admit to being Roma. But one could say there is a huge number of Roma who did not do it or still do not do it from different reasons. According to some interview partners18 the mimicry is present even nowadays in Republic of Serbia, even during the actual Decade of Roma Inclusion.

The research results from a scientific research from 1980/8119 show almost 3 ½ times higher number of Roma in Yugoslavia, e.g. Serbia, than the official census, showing Roma as the biggest ethnical minority in former Yugoslavia.20 The question is what do the discrepancies mean, but the discord21 between the official statistics and the reality could be noticed in every place, every part-republic and the autonomous province in former Yugoslavia. Ivančević expresses suspicion that there was an interest by the Yugoslavian government to artificially keep the number of Roma low, due to the social explosive powerof their presence in the country. According to Đurić, R., Roma were regularly manipulated by the ruling power, which they realized in the last decades22. According to him the unofficial number of Roma in Yugoslavia is approximately a million.23

The violent conflicts of the 1990s gave rise to new borders, and displaced people along ethnic lines.24 The estimated number of the people fled until mid-90s from the occurrences in former Yugoslavia is about 500,000. The number of Roma who fled as refugees is not accurately recorded in history. During the war in Bosnia, between 1991 and 1995, ten thousand Roma fled and asked for political asylum abroad, in Austria, Italy, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Denmark, The Netherlands. Many of them fled due to conflict between the warring sides, and some even lived in the war regions. Some families retreated to countries where they already had relatives or friends. In Germany, they could attain an indefinitely timed regulated legal status. Starting at the end of the 1990s in Germany, measures to encourage their voluntary returns were taken. Through the intensifying conflicts in Kosovo in 1998, about a hundred thousand Kosovo-Albanians and Roma were expelled. The return of the Albanians to Kosovo in June 1999 caused a new wave of Roma escapes. After the NATO intervention, a big portion of the Albanian population and Albanian extremists turned against Roma. Of about 150,000 RAE in Kosovo, ca. 80% was forced to live the country. The majority of these people fled to neighbouring countries and the regions of former Yugoslavia, the others in West European countries or the USA. In Serbia and in Kosovo these people are designated as internally displaced persons.25

This historical overview suggests a trend of the government of former Yugoslavia as well of the following governments of Serbia and Republic of Serbia to keep the number of Roma in the country artificially low. In the context of this ongoing research it opens the questions about the connection between this fact and the migration experience of Roma from Republic of Serbia in the last approximately three years. Some parallel of these occurrences can be done with the model of organized crime of the eighties and nineties26 in former Yugoslavia, respectively in Serbia.

Present Situation in Republic of Serbia

Preliminary results of the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings of Republic of Serbia27 were published in November, 2011.28 At the moment of writing there was first published official data about the population living in Republic of Serbia by ethnicity.29 The Census was not conducted on for the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohia30 by Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, neither in year 2002 nor in 2011. According to Kosovo Agency of Statistics‘ 2011 Census31, there are 35,784 RAE people in Kosovo32. The similar number is named by Sigona, with estimated 35,000 to 40,000 RAE.33 Approximately 100,000 Roma left Kosovo because of the wars - around 45,000 to 50,000 Kosovo RAEs live in Republic of Serbia (23,000 as registered IDPs). There are 35,000 residing in Germany with temporary status, and around 10,000 live as refugees in Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. An unaccounted number lives as refugees, illegal migrants or migrant workers all over Western Europe. As of October 2007, 6,899 RAE returned to Kosovo since January 2000.34 According to the previous census (2002), there are 108,19335 Roma in Republic of Serbia36, but as some estimates say the total number of Roma in Republic of Serbia is around 450,000 (see also Hughes, 2011:36). According to one interview partner (lawyer, former representative in governmental sector, m., 50-55)27, the actual number of Roma population in Republic of Serbia could be around 800,000.

As of 2011, there are 97,286 IDPs living in Republic of Serbia in a situation of need.38 The most particularly endangered IDP, Roma, according to UNHCR, are located in Vojvodina where they make almost the half of all IDPs. 74.5% of IDP Roma are in the situation of need in comparison with 41.7% non Roma IDPs. 49.0% of IDPs in the situation of needhad a house or flat in Kosovo, but the most of their property was destroyed or usurped.39 Around 8.0% of IDPs does not have one of the basic personal documents. This number is higher among Roma (17.6%) than among non-Roma (5.5%). Very small numbers of Roma showed an interest in returning to Kosovo (only 8.8%).40 There are 6.8% among the members of RAE living as IDPs in Serbia who are at risk of becoming stateless. 21.0% of these people are underage, 25.0% are IDPs from Kosovo and 54.0% of them are living in illegal settlements.41

Recent Immigration of Roma from Republic of Serbia to Federal Republic of Germany

Since December 19, 2009, the citizens of Republic of Serbia42 who hold a biometrical passport are allowed to travel to Western European countries without a visa, thanks to the inclusion of Serbia in the White Schengen List. This travel possibility is valid only for tourism and private stays up to 90 days in a period of six months, and does not include the right to work, just as the freedom of travel is not expected to be abused for filing unfounded asylum applications43.

In approximately three years a certain number of people from Republic of Serbia have been seeking asylum in Germany and in other European countries (as their first application or a following application). In year 2010 the number of first asylum applications from the citizens of Republic of Serbia in Germany was more than seven times higher than in the year 2009.44 Officially, there are neither public available statistics about the percentage and exact number of Roma population among the immigrants45 nor about the percentage of irregular immigration of Roma people, but „the majority of asylum seekers (coming from Serbia) are Roma and Albanians”46

In 2010 political asylum in Germany was requested by 6,795 citizens of Serbia, a number significantly higher compared to the year of 2009, when 581 citizens of Serbia sought asylum in Germany47. According to the Annual Report of Federal Office for Migration and Refugees for the year 2010, Serbia was on the third place regarding the number of first-time asylum applications. The number of the first-time asylum applicants coming from Serbia was 4,978, with the 12.0% of the whole asylum population, what means the growth of the first asylum applications of more than seven times as in the year before.48 In year 2011 Serbia was still on the third place with 4,579 first-time asylum applications.49 In the months January-October 2012, there were 6,829 first-time asylum requests from the citizens of Serbia.50 That number put Serbia on the first place regarding the number of first-time asylum applications and makes 13.6% of the whole asylum population.

Although Germany’s law system allows the possibility of asylum seeking for victims of political persecution5, German authorities estimated that the large number of asylum seekers coming from Republic of Serbia do not have primary political reasons for leaving the country of origin. According to the same authorities, these people left the country of origin for economic reasons and for the financial support the German state gave to rejected asylum seekers if choosing to return voluntarily to the home country. For that reason the assistance payments have been suspended for the citizens of Republic of Serbia.52

Returnees from Western European Countries

According to the Serbian nongovernmental organisation Group 48453 neither the Western countries nor Republic of Serbia have reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive statistics and analyses of the real and perceived number of returnees to Serbia, of their needs, demographic characteristics, socio-economic status and place of origin in Republic of Serbia or in Kosovo. As the majority of the asylum seekers and returnees are Roma, the problem overlaps with the issues of vulnerable minorities as well as with the problem of lacking of documents54. There are only estimated numbers of the irregular immigrants from Serbia in Western countries, but the number of people that can be returned to Serbia might amount to nearly 150,000 people.55 Although the Office for the Readmission at the Belgrade airport was established56 Federal Republic of Germany and Republic of Serbia cooperate over returns only up to the point of returnees arriving back in Republic of Serbia. There are no further exchanges of information and no shared database. Republic of Serbia has no central database of returnees either.57 In an unofficial inquiry, it has been told how it would be not possible to speak with anyone from the Office for the Readmission at the Belgrade airport.

Recruitment of Interview Partner, Interview Method and Method of Analysis

In the first field phase six Roma experts (first focus group), and one Roma former asylum-seeker (second focus group) were interviewed. Regarding the field of expertise, some of them are or has been working for the governmental or nongovernmental organizations and also some of them are or were active in politics (as a side occupation). Regarding the second focus group, access to the rejected asylum seekers proved to be more difficult than expected. It was tried to establish contact with returned asylum-seekers via some non-governmental organizations. Unfortunately it has been told such people were afraid to talk about the topic and furthermore they would not trust non-Roma interviewers; some NGOs promised to provide some possible interview candidates who are expected to be interviewed in the next field phase. One particular case is worth mention: a Roma person (contacted through a non-Roma NGO) asked the interviewer, in order to find returned Roma asylum seekers for this research, to help those persons and their families with new furniture. The offer had obviously to be declined, so it will be tried to get interviews from rejected and returned Roma asylum-seekers in the next planned field phase in a more conventional way.

The interview method applied for this study was expert interview according to the method of Bogner, Littig and Menz58. It is an open and semi-structured interview. The methodical elements applied were an interview guide and the use of a recorder. The interview guide contains some key words and incentives regarding the Roma issues, recent migration, networking, Decade of Roma Inclusion, situation of Roma in Republic of Serbia, etc. After the first interviews were done, it was noticed the interview guide was not completely suitable for the actual situation.

Not all interview partners could give an answer on all prepared questions/inputs, especially regarding networking. The interview partners had the opportunity to fill the gap with their own experiences, as Roma representatives in different areas of duty. Furthermore, the time which was spent interviewing candidates was not equal: two interviews took about one hour time (60 min.), but the time for the other five interviews took between 15-40 minutes each.

Preliminary Results

Not all interview partners could give, or want to give information about possible networks or transfers of communication among Roma. Some interview partners mentioned Internet connections,

(...) where are some interested people who (.) with the small financial help of some organisations have very big success with connecting, informing and talking about different things. (...) The most Roma which are in these networks do already have some knowledge (.) that knowledge they fill with the practical communication and one of the main problems is (.) insufficient knowledge of English.59

In other cases friends or relatives were mentioned as sources of information. In one case the subject mentioned networking as the result of the integration of young Roma in political matters. One person had the experience with non-governmental organizations as the possible sources of information and knowledge with the remark of question of legality in such cases.

(...) There was one non-governmental organization which taught us what to tell, than there was another non-governmental organisation which told us (.) you could get married here and achieve the documents, because the process is long (...) I saw then a lot of fraud, crime (.) where we on these meetings where we gathered, where the people told us what rights do we have, what we can request, and also they told us of course as well the things they are not supposed to, what could be done casually, because when you wait everything to be done legally (.) it lasts very long, and it is intentionally long in order to give up, (.) there were misuses from our60 people’s side who came as soul mates to take care of those people and proposed diverse illegal activities. Of course, everyone has a right to accept or reject. But, that was one more misuse I met there (in Austria) and I can imagine there are probably in Germany some organisations which are engaged in the problem of asylum-seekers. (...) I know there are such non-governmental organisations, which should actually tell those people how to integrate in that country instead of making problems for example, and be run by the police, because they borrow the children to each other or whatever they do.61

By asking about recent immigration of Roma to the Western countries, the most interview partners talked about the immigration from Kosovo as consequence of the Kosovo conflicts. Some of Roma asylum-seekers even when they have been returned for example to Serbia, go back again so some of them were returned many times.

The police and border service put the great effort to reduce the number of false asylum-seekers, and I think that should also do the countries where they go in, because once (.) when the Western Europe needed it (.) they greeted Roma from this area with outstretched arms, telling well in Serbia is such situation, the people flee and so on. Now, when the same population tries to go, although the situation is nearly the same (.) they are being returned immediately. (...) I do not approve it (...) but the situation is such, that the Roma are used toward the needs – when it is necessary it is being cried over the fate of Roma, when not it is being swear and spat at the country they are coming from and it is Serbia in this case.62

Regarding the personal documents, according the same interview partner, it was said that

the largest number of Roma does have personal documents. From time to time when they go abroad they lie (.) how they do not have documents, so (.) because when they show the document they would be immediately returned back. So (.) and that is very well used by the non-governmental organizations which make big projects, earn good money at the expense of (.) the people which do not have enough for living.63

According to two interview partners64 the Commissariat for the Refugees should take care of the returnees, but it does not really work now. The reason for this is that Serbia technically is not ready to accept a huge number of people, because there are also asylum seekers from other countries in Serbia and no space in collective centres for the own returnees. The most interview partner stressed it as a big problem.

Our State gives shelter to the citizens according to the Readmission Agreement, but we should know what the state offers regarding their existence. Is the State ready to provide them homes; is the State ready to recognize the education for their children went to school abroad? We will have big problems regarding the readmission.65

As the previous asylum procedure in Austria in 2006 was stopped

it brought to the situation Austria is the clean country now, it has not such problems which Luxemburg has, or Denmark, or Sweden where (.) unfortunately we know the organized busses transport false asylum-seekers there. The problem is that they get there 300, - € to return back, so someone who has nothing risks his own life and goes, even in order to be returned with that 1000, - €, they have children what means they get also money for each child and that’s it.66

As by one other interview partner, false asylum-seekers have no political problems really, but the politics turned to the salary.67

According to some interview partner, Roma asylum seekers are not informed at all about the countries they are going to, and the information that they do have come from third hand knowledge. There is one number of non-Roma, but also some Roma who abuse their ignorance, telling them how they will get a job, money, and social help abroad.

There is no official data (.) such things are of course hidden from the police and the people doing such things hide out from the police as well, but it is known that poor people who are returned, tell of how in some cases they sold the last (.) chiffonier from the house in order to (.) cross the border, to pay someone who will bring them there, but they are returning back and people have big problems.68

As previously mentioned, there are only estimated numbers of the irregular migrants from Republic of Serbia to the Western countries. A fact is that there is a big number of IDPs living in Republic of Serbia without personal documents. This so called invisible peopledo not have any rights in Republic of Serbia without these documents, they even do not exist for the country in which they live. There are several thousands (so far some 2,000 have been identified) of in reality stateless individuals in Republic of Serbia.69 According to Council of Europe’s publication70, authorities in Republic of Serbia report that around 11% of IDPs in the country are RAE (ca. 20,900 people in 2011) who are subject to discrimination in housing, education and employment. As by Arboleda71 (UNHCR in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia) the number of people without personal documents is about 30,000. This issue has been not really recognized by the Serbian authorities as a problem which deserves to be solved.

According to the possibility that every IDP without personal document is also a potential asylum seeker and potential repeated returnee, the question is if there is any link between the political situation in the country and the lack of practical measures in order to solve the actual problems of Roma population. The other question is if the authorities are hoping on that way some (unwanted) citizens could just easily disappear.

Role of the State / Politics

Five out of seven interview partners are politically active or were active in politics in previous years. One of those persons did not feel really free to speak about the State, but mentioned States’ need for finding a solution to stop the people72when talking about repeated returnees. Republic of Serbia needs money and resources in order to solve this problem, there is need for experts, specialist in the field.73 There are anyway diverse opinions about the role of the State among the interview partners, seen from the measures the State took to help Roma population in spite of a lot of problems it has and the big poverty the State find itself74,the fact that

on the republican level we (Roma) have two representatives75, and that the situation of our Roma community in Serbia is much better than in all other countries in region76 to there is no serious governmental sector (helping Roma community)77, much of the Roma people do not understand the politics78 and to the statement the State neither takes care of Roma people nor is interested in, the only thing the State is interested in is the voting machine.79

Regarding the nongovernmental organisations in Republic of Serbia working on solutions for Roma problems, some interview partners stressed that it would be better if the State would take on the job, instead of nongovernmental organisations80. Some interview partners were not giving precise information or there were some discrepancies and contradictions in their statements. State gave a signal that it starts with the projects for strengthening the Roma community, economical strengthening of Roma community and uprooting the poverty in Roma community.81 Nevertheless the same interview person mentioned further his assertion the government wouldtake some steps(in order to do something, according to the Readmission Agreement) and help the (repeated) returnees(...)but how he supposes the intention of the State are diverse subventions in order to help Roma.82 From other side, according some interviewed persons, there was also a lot misuse of Roma non-governmental organisations in Serbia in the past, especially in the South of Serbia, regarding the forgeries of the personal documents.

Since the question of (unfounded) asylum seekers has possibly very deep political backgrounds and links next is to talk with the expert police representatives83, with leading politicians in Republic of Serbia, as well as with Roma rejected asylum-seekers.


This study shall be understood as a first investigation into the topic of the influences of Roma migration and asylum-seeking patterns. Its main contribution is the unveiling of three main sources of influence on Roma migration: Internet connections, friends or relatives, and nongovernmental organisations. Regarding the latter, NGO-s in Serbia were mentioned, although indirectly, but also NGO-s based abroad with contacts inside Serbia. Unclear is what kind of information is available to the Serbian State and police forces regarding Roma illegal immigration or asylum-seeking, as on the Serbian police Internet site84 no registered case of illegal migration or organized crime regarding Roma on Serbian borders can be found. Thus the question arises, whether this kind of information is kept confidential, or if lack of cases reflect a lack of interest by the Serbian police and Serbian government in „solving” illegal migration or trafficking cases, in particular as they mostly concern Roma population. In the case this last hypothesis turns to be the correct one, it could imply that the Serbian State tries to quietly get rid of the (poor) Roma, by deliberately avoiding to really prevent Roma asylum requests abroad as well as not enabling IDPs to get their rights.

As a matter of fact, the official statements of the governmental authorities of Republic of Serbia about the situation of Roma migration often appear in some extent to be contradictory. While there are indeed documented ideas and proposals regarding prevention and measures of irregular migration and similar topics could be adopted, it is also mentioned how the realisation of the concerning projects may take much more time than announced. The wave of asylum-seekers from Serbia does not seem to be next to an end: this speaks for the urgency of analysing the problem in depth, in particular investigating its causes. Due to the postelection period in Republic of Serbia, seems that Roma in the country are in an unenviable position. There are indeed a lot of active Roma representatives in Republic of Serbia, who are willing to help the progress of Roma population, but it could be a long way due to the current circumstances and situation in the country.


BOGNER Alexander, Beate Littig and Wolfgang Menz, eds., Das Experteninterview Wiesbaden, 2005.
SIEVERS, Allie, „Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves: What Europe’s Romanies Can Teach the United States about Crime-Motivated Immigration”, Reform, 1 Penn. St. J.L. & Int’l Aff. 97 (2012),, accessed on: Dec. 01, 2012.
Aerodrom Nikola Tesla,, accessed on: Dec. 27, 2011.
BERND, Parusel and Jan Schneider, eds., „Visa Policy as Migration Channel.Working Paper 40 of the Research Section of the Federal Office”, (Nuremberg: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 2012),, accessed on: Aug. 23, 2012.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Aktuelle Zahlen zu Asyl”, Oktober 2012,;jsessionid=F790A77EBD5B0D73F09E309FF8622CC7.1_cid294?__blob=publicationFile, accessed on: Dec. 03, 2012.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Annual Policy Report 2010 - Synthesis Report”,01.09.2011,, accessed on: Dec. 28, 2011.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Das Bundesamt in Zahlen 2011”, 01.06.2012,;jsessionid=FE06EBFB770A651C0FDD5A2D94262372.1_cid294?__blob=publicationFile, accessed on: Dec. 01, 2012.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Die zentralen Ergebnisse des Migrationsberichts 2010“,2011,, accessed on: Aug. 23, 2012.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Migrationsbericht 2010”,, accessed on: Dec. 28, 2011.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „Serbien – Allgemeine Lage und Situation der Roma und Albaner”, 2010,, accessed on: Feb. 20, 2011.
Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, „4,106 Asylanträge im Oktober 2011”,, accessed on: Dec. 20, 2011.
Council of Europe, Human Rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe,Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2012.
RAKIĆ, Danilo ed.: Challenges of Forced Migration in Serbia, Group 484, Belgrade, 2011.
Database on-line. Available at:, accessed on: May 12, 2012.
Database on-line. Available at:, accessed on: May 13, 2012.
CROWE,M. David A history of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia,NewYork, St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.
Ger Duijzings, Religion and the politics of identity in Kosovo (London: C. Hurst & Co., 2000).
Germany’s Dream for Serbian’s Roma Returnees,, accessed on: Dec. 28, 2011.
International Organisation for Migration,, accessed on: April 20, 2012.
SCHNEIDER, Jan, „Maßnahmen zur Verhinderung und Reduzierung irregulärer Migration. Working Paper 41 der Forschungsgruppe des Bundesamtes”, 2012,;jsessionid=CC92DE29A16AD0120D76385CF6CC9BB2.1_cid251?__blob=publicationFile, accessed on: May 7, 2012.
ČVOROVIĆ, Jelena, „Juvenile Marriages, Child­Brides and Infant Mortality Among Serbian Gypsies”, Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SANU, issue: LIX (2) / 2011, pages: 27­44, on, accessed on: Dec. 03, 2012.
SCOTT, John and Peter J. Carrington, eds., The Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington D.C.: Sage, 2011.
Kancelarija za Inkluziju Roma. „Mesečnik Kancelarije za inkluziju Roma. Dekada Roma u AP Vojvodini”, Nr. 1-6. Novi Sad, 2011.
Komesarijat za izbeglice, „Strategy for Combating Illegal Migration in the Republic of Serbia”,, accessed on: Dec. 20, 2011.
Kosovo Population and Housing Census 2011, Final Results, Main Data,, accessed on: Nov. 29, 2012.
KAHANEC, Martin and Mutlu Yuksel: „Intergenerational Transfer of Human Capital under Post-War Distress: The Displaced and the Roma in the Former Yugoslavia” (2010),, accessed on: Sep. 16, 2011.
HUGHES, Melissa, „The Romani Place in Kosovar Space: Nationalism and Kosovo’s Roma” (2011). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1397,, accessed on: Nov. 12, 2012.
Ministarstvo za ljudska i manjinska prava, „Strategija za unapređivanje položaja Roma u Republici Srbiji” (Beograd, 2010).
Ministarstvo unutrašnjih poslova Republike Srbije,, accessed on: Dec. 7, 2011.
SIGONA Nando and Nidhi Trehan, eds., Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
IVANČEVIĆ, Nikola, Die Zigeuner in Jugoslawien,Diploma degree dissertation, Berlin, 1986.
OSCE, „Report of the OSCE-ODIHR Roundtable: Sustainable Solutions for Displaced Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and Policies to Improve the Reintegration of Repatriated Roma”,, accessed on: Dec. 7, 2011.
Pravi odgovor, Nr. 145, (28.06.2011, Beograd),, accessed on: Dec. 3, 2012.
Republički zavod za statistiku, „Prvi rezultati”,, accessed on: May 12, 2012.
Romanonevipe, 58-59-60, (Beograd, 2011).
Sve manje lažnih azilanata iz Srbije,,,6404261,00.html, accessed on: Mai 19, 2011.
CVJETIĆANIN, Stanko, Vesna Srdić, „Obrazovna integracija Roma u Srbiji“, Social Research ­ Journal for General Social Issues, issue: 2 / 2012, pages: 569­587, on, accessed on Dec. 01, 2012.
EVERA, Van Stephen „Hypothesis on Nationalism and War.” In: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, ed. by M. E. Brown, O. R. C. Jr., S. M. Lynn-Jones, and S. E. Miller, Cambridge, Mass: 2001.
NEWBURN, Tim, Criminology,Willan, Devon, 2007.
UNICRI, ed.: Borba protiv organizovanog kriminala u Srbiji, (Beograd, 2008).
GUY, Will „Roma: Living Conditions, Social Perception and State Policy in the Macro­Region of ‘Eastern Europe’ before and after 1989“, Südosteuropa Mitteilungen, issue: 
02 / 2009, pages: 54­65, on, accessed on: Dec. 03, 2012.

Glossary / Index:
IDP = Internal displaced person
RAE = Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians
Readmission = repatriation (a uniform readmission agreement between Serbia and the European Union came into force on January 1, 2008. Execution of this agreement was a precondition for Serbia’s admission to a visa-free regime with EU Schengen-zone countries.)
White Schengen = visa liberalisation (for Serbian citizens who hold biometric passports, for visit purposes in the Schengen area for up to 90 days per six-month period, since December 19, 2009)



1 May 6, 2012 and May 20, 2012.
2 Roma activist (a representative of a Roma NGO in Belgrade, m., 40-45), Interview Nr. 1, held on 28 June 2011 in Belgrade.
4 Martin Kahanec and Mutlu Yuksel, Intergenerational Transfer of Human Capital under Post-War Distress: The Displaced and the Roma in the Former Yugoslavia (2010),, accessed on: Sep. 16, 2011, 9.
5 OSCE, Report of the OSCE-ODIHR Roundtable: Sustainable Solutions for Displaced Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and Policies to Improve the Reintegration of Repatriated Roma,, accessed on: Dec. 7, 2011.
6 Tatomir P. Vukanović, quoted in Nikola Ivančević, „Die Zigeuner in Jugoslawien”. (Diploma degree dissertation, Berlin, 1986), 109.
7 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
8 Ivančević, Die Zigeuner,110.
9 K. Jončić, quoted in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner,112.
10 Čvorović Jelena, „Juvenile Marriages, Child­Brides and Infant Mortality Among Serbian Gypsies”, Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SANU, issue: LIX (2) / 2011, pages: 27­44, on, accessed on: Dec. 03, 2012, 29.
11 Vukanović, quoted in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner,110.
12 0.6% of the whole population.
13 0.6% of the whole population, 1986,111.
14 1.2% of the whole population.
15 Ger Duijzings: Religion and the politics of identity in Kosovo (London: C. Hurst & Co., 2000), 139.
16 Ivančević, Die Zigeuner, 111.
17 ca. 90% Yugoslavian Roma population lived in Serbia and Macedonia.
18 Interview 3, 6.
19 Vukanović, quoted in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner, 114.
20 Vukanović, quoted in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner, 115.
21 Rajko Đurić, quoted in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner, 115.
22 Interview with Đurić, in Ivančević, Die Zigeuner, 319.
23 Interview with Đurić,327.
24 Kahanec and Yuksel, Intergenerational Transfer, 1.
25 Kahanec and Yuksel, Intergenerational Transfer,7.
26 UNICRI, ed.: Borba protiv organizovanog kriminala u Srbiji (Beograd, 2008).
27 October 1-15, 2011.
32 8,824 Roma, 15,436 Ashkali and 11,524 Egyptians.
33 Sigona Nando and Nidhi Trehan, eds., Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 209.
34 UNHCR (2007), in: Sigona, 224.
35 1.44% of the whole population.
36 Excluding Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.
37 Roma activist, former politician, Interview Nr. 3, held on 29 June 2011 in Belgrade.
38 Pravi odgovor, 2011, 15, Pravi odgovor, Nr. 145 (28.06.2011, Beograd),, 13.
39 Pravi odgovor, 2011.
40 Pravi odgovor, 2011.
41 Pravi odgovor, 2011
42 Meant is the territory of Republic of Serbia, including Vojvodina (excluding Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 of 10 June 1999).
43 economic reasons are not reasons for asylum in Western European countries.
45 Asylum seekers in Germany are registered only by their citizenship, not by the ethnical belonging
46 BAMF, Migrationsbericht 2010, tionsberichte/migrationsbericht-2010.pdf, Astract, accessed on: Dec. 28, 2011.
47 Beta, 18 January 2011, Number of asylum seekers from Serbia in Germany has increased.
48 BAMF, „Serbien –Allgemeine Lage und Situation der Roma und Albaner”, 2010,, 109, accessed on: Feb. 20, 2011.
52,,6404261,00.html, accessed on Jan. 14, 2011.
53 Danilo Rakic, ed., Challenges of Forced Migration in Serbia (Group 484. Belgrade, 2011), 69.
54 According to reports and publications of UNHCR and NGO Praxis.
55 Ministarstvo za ljudska i manjinska prava, „Strategija za unapređivanje položaja Roma u Republici Srbiji” (Beograd, 2010), 30, accessed on: Dec. 7, 2011.
56 Ministarstvo za ljudska, 2010, 30.
57 Germany’s Dream for Serbian’s Roma Returnees,, accessed on: Dec. 28, 2011.
58 Alexander Bogner, Beate Littig and Wolfgang Menz, eds., Das Experteninterview (Wiesbaden, 2005).
59 Journalist and Roma activist, m., 50-55, Interview Nr. 4, held on 29 June 2011 in Belgrade.
60 the interviewed person means with „our people“ any person from the former Yugoslavian territory and/or with the knowledge of language(s) spoken in that concerning area.
61 Roma activist and rejected asylum seeker before visa liberalisation, w., 35-40, Interview Nr. 2, held on 28 June 2011 in Belgrade.
62 Interview Nr. 4.
63 Interview Nr. 4.
64 Interviews Nr. 2, 7.
65 Interview Nr. 3.
66 Interview Nr. 2.
67 Interview Nr. 1.
68 Interview Nr. 4.
69 OSCE, „Report of the OSCE-ODIHR Roundtable: Sustainable Solutions for Displaced Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and Policies to Improve the Reintegration of Repatriated Roma”,, 9, accessed on: Dec. 7, 2011.
70 Council of Europe. Human Rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2012), 198.
71, accessed on: May 13, 2012.
72 Former politician, worked also in government sector, Roma activist, m., 40-45, Interview Nr. 7, held on 30 June 2011 in Belgrade.
73 Former politician.
74 Interview Nr. 6.
75 Interview Nr. 3.
76 Interview Nr. 3.
77 Interview Nr. 3.
78 Interview Nr. 1.
79 Interview Nr. 1.
80 Interviews Nr. 2, 3, 5, 6
81 Active Politician, Roma activist, m., 55-60, Interview Nr. 5, held on 29 June 2011 in Belgrade.
82 Interview Nr. 5.
83 I was told it is necessary to write an official inquiry to the Minister of Interior in order to interview relevant border police representatives, so I did it. My official request to the Head of Border Police (email request from September 2012) was answered with very short explanation of having no time, without giving the possibility for having an interview at the later moment.
84, accessed on: Aug. 31, 2012.


TATJANA VUKELIĆ – Independent Researcher, Hamburg, Germany.




Sfera Politicii