Virginia, US

Sep 02 2019

Single Permit and EU Directive Implementation Update

Belgium

At a Glance

  • Following the implementation of the EU Single Permit Directive in Belgium in January 2019, the Belgian authorities are adopting legislation to implement other EU legal migration Directives. As of September 1, 2019, the Single Permit rules are applicable to the EU Blue Card scheme and a new scheme for seasonal workers is available. Current legislation does not include regulations for the implementation of the EU Students and Researchers Directive and the EU Intracompany Transfer Directive.
  • Additionally, the authorities are implementing regional related variations considering factors dealing with economic migration.
  • This alert covers the status of the implementation of EU Directives and the key regional differences in economic migration policies.

The situation

Following the implementation of the Single Permit Directive in Belgium in January 2019, the Belgian authorities are adopting legislation to implement other EU legal migration Directives. Additionally, the authorities are implementing regional related variations in economic migration. This alert covers the status of the implementation of EU Directives and the key regional differences in economic migration policies.

Status of implementation of EU Directives

Since September 1, 2019, the following changes with respect to EU Directives are applicable in Belgium:

  • EU Blue Card scheme. This scheme applies the Single Permit rules that result in a single application procedure aligned with other highly-skilled permits in Belgium.
  • Seasonal Workers Directive. This scheme is new in Belgium and allows employers to fulfill the need for seasonal workers in specific sectors of economy.

 

The following EU Directives are yet to be implemented in Belgium:

  • EU Students and Researchers Directive. EU Member States had until May 23, 2018 to transpose the EU Students and Researchers Directive. The EU Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Belgium for failing to transpose the EU rules.
  • EU Intracompany Transfer Directive. EU Member States had until November 29, 2016 to transpose the EU ICT Directive. In July 2018, the EU Commission issued a formal notice to Belgium for noncompliance and referred Belgium to the European Court of Justice in July 2019 for failing to implement this Directive. The legislation does not include regulations for the implementation of this Directive.

 

Regional migration policy differences

  • Flanders. In January 2019, this region implemented a regional salary threshold with a reduced threshold for highly-skilled local hires under the age of 30, extended the validity of permits for highly-skilled to three years and relaxed the requirements for shortage positions. Following the publication of recent legislation, since September 1, 2019, the annual salary threshold for EU Blue Card holders decreased from 53,971 EUR (59,290 USD) to 50,242 EUR (55,194 USD).
  • Walloon and Brussels. Similar policies were adopted in the Walloon and Brussels regions in June 1, 2019. Both regions started issuing longer single permits for the purpose of work (up to three years). The Walloon and Brussels Regions have not adopted a lower salary threshold for young professionals. The annual salary threshold for EU Blue Card holders remains 53,971 EUR (59,290 USD) in the Walloon region; it was decreased to 52,978 EUR (58,199 USD) in the Brussels region on September 1, 2019.

 

Looking ahead

The executive cooperation agreement and regional legislation adopting rules for implementation of the EU Students and Researchers Directive and EU Intracompany Transfer Directive are published. However, additional federal legislation is required to implement these schemes. In light of current situation of the federal government, the publication of this legislation may be postponed to a later date in 2019. There will be limited variations between the regions in their implementation of these EU Directives.

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 beneluxinfo@fragomen.com.