Business immigration: new rules for Brussels Region as of 1 June 2019

A Decree of the Brussels Region government dated 16 May 2019, and published in the Belgian Official Journal dated 4 June 2019, has introduced new rules regarding work permits.                                                                           

A majority of the new rules relates to the implementation of EU directives (ICT – intra-corporate transfer -, seasonal workers, researchers, trainees, volunteers, and Blue Cards), but the Decree also contains generally applicable changes. In principle, the Decree applies immediately/retroactively (1 June 2019), but there are exceptions for most new rules related to the EU directives (the date of taking effect of the Implementing Cooperation Agreement between the federal and regional entities, dated 6 December 2018, will be relevant).

Some key points can be summarized as follows:

  • ICT permits can be applied for as of 1 June 2019 for managers (max. 3 years), specialists (max. 3 years), and trainee-employees (max. 1 year), who have been employed for at least six months uninterrupted, immediately preceding the transfer; there is a degree requirement (3 years higher education for managers and specialists; university, at least bachelor degree, for trainee-employees), as well as a salary threshold (for 2019: 53.970 € for managers, 43.176 € for specialists, and 26.985 € for trainee-employees);
  • The rules regarding short-term and long-term mobility for ICT permit holders have also taken effect as of 1 June 2019;
  • For applications filed as of 1 June 2019, highly skilled and executive level permits can be valid up to 3 years (instead of 1 year): instead of an annual renewal, the only obligation for the employer is to submit copies of salary documents and, for assignees, of foreign social security confirmation and Limosa;
  • It is confirmed that a work permit (max. 90 days) holder who wants to extend residence in Belgium to work for an overall duration of more than 90 days will have to apply for a single permit.