Jul 29 2021

EU Intra-Company Transferee Permit Implementation Delayed

Belgium

At a Glance

  • Belgium’s implementation of the EU Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Permit, designed for intracompany transfers of managers, specialists and trainees from outside the European Union to Belgium for more than 90 days, has been delayed.
  • Brussels and Flanders have been accepting EU ICT Permit applications since October-November 2020, but corresponding EU ICT Permit cards are not being issued.
  • EU ICT Permit holders from other EU Member States can work at a Belgian group entity of their home employer for up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, provided the employer submitted a Posted Worker (Limosa) notification.
  • When implemented, EU ICT Permit card holders will also benefit from long term intra-EU mobility into Belgium under the advantageous terms of the EU ICT Permit Directive. 

The situation

The Belgian Council of Ministers approved legislation for EU Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Permits to be issued in Belgium. However, since the backlogged Council of State must still render its advice on the final legislation, the publication and entry into force of EU ICT Permit has been postponed to the last quarter of 2021.

A closer look

As a reminder, the following will apply to an EU ICT Permit holder in Belgium when the Permit is implemented:

  • Eligibility for permit. The EU ICT Permit, which is a combined work and residence (single) permit, is available to managers and specialists with at least a higher education degree and trainees with a Master’s degree. Managers, specialists and trainees must have been working in the sending non-EU company for at least three months (in the Flanders and Walloon Regions) or six months (in the Brussels Region) to qualify for the EU ICT Permit, and should have their main residence outside the European Union when applying for the permit.
  • Salary requirements. Applicants should receive a salary similar to Belgian nationals in a comparable position. Regional governments have set specific thresholds that are presumed to meet this requirement, to streamline application processing.
  • Application process. The application process is similar to other single permit types. EU ICT Permit applications are submitted to the Regional Employment Authorities for final approval by the Federal Immigration office. Government processing times are expected to be the same as regular highly-skilled single permit applications, and cannot exceed 90 days (as compared to 120 days for regular single permits).
  • Family members work authorized. Dependents of both EU ICT Permit and Mobile ICT Permit holders can work in Belgium once they receive their dependent residence permits without a separate work permit. However, dependent family members do not qualify for an in-country change of residence status to an employee.

Impact

  • Permit applications. Brussels and Flanders have been accepting EU ICT Permit applications following partial implementation in 2020, but corresponding EU ICT Permit cards cannot yet be issued. Authorities have confirmed general Single Permit cards issued under this temporary arrangement can later be switched to an EU ICT Permit once these become available. In Wallonia, EU ICT Permit applications are not yet accepted.
  • Mobile EU ICT Permit applications to become available. When implemented, EU ICT Permit holders from another EU Member State seeking to work at a Belgian entity of their home employer for over 90 days will be able to apply for a Mobile ICT Permit with the Regional Employment Authorities. These individuals can, however, start working while their Mobile ICT Permit application is pending, provided the Posted Worker (Limosa) notification is submitted. Mobile ICT Permit applicants should receive a salary similar to Belgian nationals in a comparable position.
  • Notification required for short-term stay. EU ICT Permit holders from other EU Member States can work at a Belgian group entity of their home employer for up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, provided the employer submitted a Posted Worker (Limosa) notification.
  • Maximum stay: cooling-off period. After holding an EU ICT Permit for three years, permit holders must change to another Belgian permit type (e.g., Highly Skilled Permit), or must complete a cooling-off period and leave Belgium for at least three months before applying for another EU ICT Permit. Trainees can hold an EU ICT Permit for up to one year, but cannot extend this permit. The EU ICT Permit does not count toward permanent residency.
  • UK nationals. UK nationals not resident in Belgium before December 31, 2020 require work authorization. Eligible UK nationals will be able to apply for an EU ICT Permit once it is implemented in Belgium.

Background

  • EU ICT Permit background. The EU ICT Permit is suitable for intracompany transfers of managers, specialists and trainees from outside the European Union for more than 90 days, per the implementation of an EU Directive. The EU Directive aims to coordinate immigration rules for ICTs within the European Union and to allow intra-EU mobility rights. All other EU Member States have implemented the Permit (except Denmark and Ireland, which opted out of the Directive).
  • Benefits of Permit. Eligible EU ICT Permit holders can work in corporate group entities in other EU Member States following a streamlined notification or application process, offering the first truly intra-EU work authorization option. This significantly reduces the risk of noncompliance and the administrative burden for employers seeking to assign eligible staff to multiple EU locations.

Looking ahead

Fragomen will report when the EU ICT Permit is implemented in Belgium and the next steps for EU ICT Permit applicants in Brussels and Flanders, who may wish to exchange of their general Single Permit for an EU ICT Permit in order to benefit from intra-EU mobility rights.

Employers and interested applicants should consult their immigration professional for strategic mobility planning across the European Union.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].