Door opens for East European builders

23rd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 March 2006, BRUSSELS — The Flemish employment agency (VDAB) has made a surprise back flip by opening the door to East European bricklayers and carpenters.

23 March 2006

BRUSSELS — The Flemish employment agency (VDAB) has made a surprise back flip by opening the door to East European bricklayers and carpenters.

The VDAB has added both professions to its list of jobs for which a shortage of workers has developed in Belgium.

It means that despite the continued restrictions on workers from the new European Union member states, the construction industry will still be able to recruit bricklayers and carpenters from Eastern Europe.

The federal government recently decided to extend restrictions on workers from the new EU states for a maximum of three years.

But it also regulated that industries facing labour shortages could recruit Eastern European workers via an accelerated work permit scheme.

The Flemish list of job shortages must lodged with federal Employment Minister Peter Vanvelthoven by the end of March, along with the Wallonian and Brussels lists.

Two weeks ago, the VDAB sparked a storm of protest when it said it list of professions would be much shorter than previous years. However, it has now increased its list to 145 professions, including bricklayers and carpenters.

Officially, Belgium will completely open its borders to East European workers sometime between 2007 and 2009.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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