Extension of the transitional period for workers from Romania and Bulgaria

With the publication of the Royal Decree of 18 December 2008 with respect to the employment of foreign workers, Belgium has used its possibility to prolong the transitional period which was initially expected to end on 1 January 2009.

Indeed, this Royal Decree extends the transitional period for the employment of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals until 31 December 2011.

As a consequence of this decision, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will not yet be able to benefit from the principle of free movement of workers and will therefore still need to be in possession of a work permit to work in Belgium.

Nevertheless, there does exist a possibility for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals (as EU-nationals) to be exempt from possessing a work permit in the framework of the free movement of services. Additionally, they can also easily obtain a work permit if employed by a Belgian employer to fill a shortage in available manpower in particular employment sectors.