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Single permit for expats in Flanders as of January 2019

As of 1 January 2019, highly skilled foreign citizens will be able to obtain their work and residence permits in Belgium and Flanders through a single application form. As such, citizens from outside the EU no longer need to possess a work permit before being able to arrange their stay in the country and region. Instead, they can obtain both permits simultaneously.

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Unified application procedure

Flanders-based employers can apply for the single permit on behalf of their foreign employees by addressing the competent regional authorities. The Regional Migration Service and the Federal Foreign Affairs Service will then investigate the admissibility and completeness of the application within 15 days.

Afterwards, the Foreign Affairs Service will decide whether to issue the single permit and inform both the employer and the employee as well as any relevant authorities.

Cutting through red tape

The new procedure is applicable to employment and residence that exceed a period 90 days. If the foreign resident will work and stay in Belgium for fewer than 90 days, the current procedure – i.e. two separate applications – still applies.

The single permit and simplified application procedure for long-term employment will significantly reduce the administrative burden for employers who plan to employ non-EU nationals in Belgium and Flanders, saving them both time and resources.

Additional efforts

Flanders aims to give additional support to foreign employees and their employers by opening a digital service counter for single permit application in the first few months of 2019. But there’s more. To attract more foreign knowledge workers to the region, Flanders has also decided to lower the wage threshold required to obtain a permit for highly educated citizens under the age of 30.

About Belgium and Flanders

With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels.

Reported by
De Tijd newspaper
6 November 2018

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