BELGIUM – Measures to Mitigate Single Permit Processing Delays

The Belgian authorities have taken steps to decrease application processing times for the new single permit, and to avoid lapses in work authorisation due to the slower processing of the residence authorisation.

Background

In January 2019, the Belgian authorities introduced the Single Permit, combining work and residence authorisation requests into a single application, implementing the Single Permit Directive (2011/98/EU).

However, processing of Single Permits is taking several months, and there has been a lack of clarity about when applicants can start or continue to work in Belgium.

This has especially caused problems for those holding existing work permits under the previous system, whose immigration status expires during processing of the Single Permit.

Measures

  • The regional authorities in Flanders have announced that, effective 17 June 2019, they will issue a temporary work permit in certain cases where an applicant’s existing work authorisation may expire before their Single Permit is approved.  This temporary work permit will be issued at the discretion of the Flemish Economic Migration Office, and cannot be requested by the applicant, their employer or their agent.
  • The federal immigration authorities have moved staff internally to the Single Permit section in an attempt to reduce processing times.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Belgium, please email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.