What is the change? The Belgian government has moved to reform the single permit application process, making changes that are expected to significantly improve processing times.

The reforms include adding more staff, streamlining internal processes, developing a more efficient online platform and allowing single permit applicants to begin work once regional authorities have approved their permit.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Single permits (work and residence permits).
  • Who is affected: Employers and non-EU nationals applying to work and reside in Belgium.
  • Impact on processing: The measures should help reduce processing times to somewhere around six to eight weeks.

Business impact: The changes will, in some cases, allow employees to start working sooner.

Background: The single permit system was introduced last year, and has been plagued with slow processing times that negatively impacted business and HR planning. The Ministry of Immigration recently announced a number reforms to the single permit process, including:

  • Adding 20 additional staff members at the federal level.
  • Changing internal procedures to streamline single permit processing at the federal level.
  • Developing a single online platform that will connect immigration providers with both federal and regional authorities.
  • Allowing single permit holders to start or continue employment upon approval of regional authorities. This change applies to first-time applicants, renewal applicants and those who are applying for a permit after switching employers. First-time applicants will still need to obtain approval from federal authorities, but will be able to begin work upon approval from local authorities.

Analysis & Comments: Deloitte joined other employers and business organizations in pushing for changes to the single permit process, and the recently announced reforms are in line with Deloitte’s recommendations. The changes should improve processing times and allow employees to begin working sooner. Deloitte will continue to follow the implementation of these reforms and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Source: Deloitte. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see to learn more. Deloitte Legal means the legal practices of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms or their affiliates that provide legal services. For legal, regulatory and other reasons, not all member firms provide legal services. This communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte network”) is, by means of this communication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication. © 2020. For information, contact Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.