The Belgian Official Gazette has published today the Royal Decree of 8 October 2017, amending the Royal Decree of 9 June 1999 implementing the Foreign Workers (Employment) Act of 30 April 1999.
The amendment is concerned with the employment of third-country nationals, family members of long-term residents (i.e. holders of a residence permit type D).
Currently, in breach of the Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification, to work in Belgium, family members of long-term residents, require a work permit regardless if the long-term resident is bound by the same obligation either not.
It must be recalled that:
Third-country nationals have acquired the status in Belgium (i.e. after five years of lawful and uninterrupted stay) are work permit exempt.
In the Walloon Region, holders of a long-term resident permit issued by another Member State (in the sense of Directive 2003/109/EC), are work permit exempt after working in Belgium, holding a work permit type B, during an uninterrupted period of twelve months, In the same context, for shortage jobs, the authorization of employment (i.e. for the first period of twelve months) must be issued within five working days.
In the Flanders Region and in Brussels, the work permit exemption applies after working during an uninterrupted period of twelve months, holding a work permit type B, only if the latter was issued for a shortage job. The authorization of employment must be issued within five working days.
Under the new legislation, family members of long-term residents eligible for work permit exemption, will be beneficiaries of the same exemption.
The following family members are concerned:
The spouse or the partner with whom the third-country national coming to work has contracted a registered partnership equivalent to marriage in Belgium, and joins the latter.
Their descendants and those of one of the spouses/partners, under the age of eighteen and unmarried, join the third-country national in Belgium. Where about descendants of one of the spouses/partners, the latter must have custody of the children, and where about shared custody, the other parent’s consent is required.
The partner with whom the third-country national coming to work has contracted a partnership recognized by a law, and the descendants of that partner join the third-country national in Belgium before turning eighteen years old and if they are not married. The partner must have custody of the children, and where about shared custody, the other parent’s consent is required.
However, the partners must bring evidence of durable and stable relationship. Unless the partners have a common child, they must bring proof of legal cohabitation in Belgium or in any other country, during an uninterrupted period of at least one year preceding the demand, either proof that they know each and other since at least two years and during that period have maintained regular contacts (phone, courier, e mail) and have met three times during the past two years preceding the demand, spending together at least forty-five days in aggregate.