The single permit introduced in Belgium

Currently, when coming to work in Belgium, non-EEA nationals must separately apply for a work permit, which is reviewed by the Regional Public Services (regional competence), and for a residence permit, which is reviewed by the Immigration Office (federal competence).

However, Directive 2011/98/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council considered that EU Member States should introduce a single permit covering both work and residence rights. Therefore, Belgium introduced the cooperative Act of 2 February 2018 regarding the coordination of work and residence permit policies and employment and residence provisions for foreign workers.

Under this cooperative Act, non-EEA nationals coming to work in Belgium for more than 90 days should be able to make one application for a single permit for both work and residence rights in Belgium (there are some exceptions: highly qualified workers with a blue card, au pairs, etc.).

However, the application is still subject to separate reviews. The Regional Public Services will first review the competence, completeness and admissibility of the application. It will then review the conditions for a work right and transfer the application to the Immigration Office, which will review the conditions for a residence right. If both organizations approve the application, the Immigration Office will notify the employer and the worker, who will be able to collect his/her single permit at the Town Hall or the consulate.

Therefore, despite the introduction of a single permit, the procedure remains long, complicated and twofold.


Gil Gennaux, Junior Associate,

Gaël Chuffart, Partner,

Related : CMS Belgium


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