Connecticut, US

Jun 17 2019

Government Addresses Single Permit Processing Delay Issues

Belgium

At a Glance

  • After the Single Permit was introduced in January 2019, the long processing times began causing lapses in status for foreign nationals and exposures to noncompliance risks for employers.
  • As a result, the Federal Immigration Office in Belgium is taking steps to reduce processing times across the country and foreign nationals employed in Flanders are now able to continue their employment while their renewal applications are pending.

The situation

Belgium is taking steps to reduce processing times for Single Permit applications across the country. 

Background

  • Single Permit. In January 2019, Belgium implemented the Single Permit scheme for foreign nationals seeking to work in Belgium for over 90 days. The Single Permit combines work and residence authorization into a single document, issued through a single application procedure.
  • Implementation issues. The implementation of the Single Permit created challenges in Belgium due to the need for cooperation among the various governmental levels, which resulted in significant processing delays. Since the Single Permit application requires both work and residence authorization to be approved before foreign nationals start or continue their employment in Belgium, many foreign nationals risked their legal status lapsing during the processing period and employers were exposed to noncompliance risks due to the delays.

 

A closer look

Both the federal government in Belgium and the government in Flanders are taking steps to fix the issues caused by the processing delays as follows:

  • Federal Immigration Office in Belgium. The office is increasing staff in order to process Single Permit applications faster across the country, which should result in significantly fewer lapses in foreign nationals’ statuses.
  • Flanders region. Due to a policy passed by the government of Flanders, foreign nationals employed in the region are now able to continue their employment while their Single Permit application is pending with the Immigration Office. Fragomen advocated for this solution.

 

Impact

Due to the new policies, foreign nationals will see fewer lapses in their immigration status and employers will see decreased immigration compliance risks.

Looking ahead

Although the introduction of the Single Permit and the single application process allows the implementation of the EU Students and Researchers Directive and the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Directive, further implementing legislation is required. Fragomen will report on updates as they become available.

Fragomen’s webinar on updates related to Single Permit implementation and Brexit’s effects in Belgium will be held on June 27, 2019. Sign up for the webinar here.

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 benelux@fragomen.com.