By Sophie Maes, Firm:  Claeys & Engels 

New immigration rules apply in Brussels for foreign employees who are not European Economic Area or Swiss nationals. Unlike the Flemish Region (see previous Update) and the Walloon Region, the Brussels Region has not introduced a new business immigration model but has adapted the existing regulatory framework.

The main points are:

  • An authorisation to work can be granted for a maximum of three years for specific categories of foreign employees, in particular for highly qualified personnel.
  • Unlike in Flanders and Wallonia, there is no specific regulation for profiles who exercise a shortage profession.
  • New ‘European’ categories of highly educated or special profiles have been introduced to implement a number of European directives such as intra-corporate transferees, seasonal workers, researchers, trainees and volunteers in the framework of the European Voluntary Service.
  • The grounds for refusal and withdrawal are extended.

The new rules apply retroactively from 1 June 2019 but authorisations obtained or applied for before will remain valid and will be dealt with according to the old rules. The rules for the new ‘European’ categories are mostly not yet in force and will enter into force later (date not yet known).