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Change of regulations for work permits

From January 1, 2019, there will be a change in the regulations regarding work permits. On Friday 7 December 2018, the Flemish Government approved the implementation of the law of 30 April 1999 concerning the employment of foreign employees. From 1 January 2019 these new rules will come into effect.

The main objectives of this new regulation are on the one hand attracting foreign talent in function of the growth of the innovative knowledge economy in Flanders and on the other hand the further implementation of the effective shortage occupations. The Flemish Government aims at both fair competition and administrative simplification.

What will actually change from January 1, 2019: 

- There will be a dynamic bottleneck professions list. This gives middle-skilled people access to the labor market without any labor market research. The list is based on the bottleneck professions of the VDAB. This list will be reviewed every two years in function of the needs on the labor market. Professions with a constant shortage on our labor market are eligible. Exceptions are possible, but only after an individual labor market survey has indicated that no suitable workforce can be found;

- Highly qualified, supervisors, researchers and researchers are granted a prolonged admission to work for a maximum of three years instead of the former restriction to 12 months;

- The wage for young people up to 30 years and nurses is matched to real wages on our labor market. They must earn at least 80% of the average gross annual salary;

- Highly qualified people can - if they have worked in Flanders for 4 years - have access to the labor market for an indefinite period;

- An employment agreement with the country of origin is no longer necessary when a work permit is awarded. 

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