Less red tape for foreigners that come to work in Belgium

In future people from countries outside the European Union that want to come and work in Belgium will only have to fill in one document. The document will serve as an application for both a work permit and a residency permit.

The decision to simply the procedure that needs to be followed by non-EU nationals wishing to come and live and work here was taken in the Home Affairs Select Comity of the Chamber of Representatives.

EU nationals wishing to come and work here fall under European legislation on the free movement of people within the European Union. The new rules will bring Belgium into line with new European legislation designed to cut red tape for non-EU nationals coming to work in EU member states.

Currently non-EU nationals wishing to come and work in Belgium must first apply for a work permit. Only once the work permit has been issued can an application be made for a residency permit. Soon both permit will be able to be applied for together on one form.

The Secretary of State responsible for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) told journalists that “This simplification of the procedures makes it not only more efficient, but also easier for the foreign worker and their employer, but also make it easier to check whether a migrant is staying here legally and whether they have access to the labour market.

The issue is made more complex than it might have been as work permits are issued by the regions while residency permit are the responsibility of the federal authorities.

Permits delivered within 60 days

Under the new procedure permits will be issued within 60 days of the application having been received.

“This timeframe is short enough to ensure that the competitive position of our companies is maintained, but is long enough to allow the Aliens’ office to carry out thorough security screening on applicants”.