IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the update? The Federal Immigration Office in Belgium has announced a plan to reduce processing times of applications for single permits.
What does the update mean? A shift of responsibilities from the Federal Ministry to local communal authorities for part of the process should decrease processing times during the next few months. For the time being, an overall processing time of up to four months should still be expected.
Background: In January, all three regions of Belgium introduced a single work-and-residence permit system under the European Union directive. The system unifies work-and-residence permit procedures for non-EU/EEA workers across the EU.
Under the new process, employers may submit a completed application with all supporting documentation to regional authorities, who issue a conditional work authorization. The file is then transferred to federal immigration authorities to determine entry eligibility and approve issuance of a visa by the appropriate Belgian consulate. The single permit is then issued by the commune to authorize both work and residence and will be valid for up to three years, depending on the employment contract or assignment letter.
Analysis & Comments: Employers need to take these increased processing times into account when planning new assignments and dealing with renewal applications. It is currently impossible to fast-track applications. Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.
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