New EU Member States employees face work permit exemption from 1 May 2009

7th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Belgian Ministry has lifted its restrictions on workers from the new Members States from 1 May 2009 onwards.

Ten new countries joined the EU on 1 May 2004, namely, Malta, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. With the exception of Malta and Cyprus, which were granted immediate access to all labour markets in the EU, employees of the remaining 8 Member States were not automatically granted the right to work in most of the other EU Member States.

The older Member States were in fact authorised to enforce transitional measures until April 2009. The transitional period could only be extended by an additional period of 2 years if the local labour market experienced a serious negative impact from such migration.

Considering that such a negative impact cannot be proven, the Belgian Ministry has therefore decided to lift its restrictions on workers from the new Members States from 1 May 2009 onwards. This means that as from 1 May 2009 employees from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are exempt from being in possession of a work permit to work as an employee in Belgium. Furthermore, self-employed workers are already exempt from being in possession of a professional card in order to carry out a self-employed activity in Belgium since 2004.

Note that until further notice Bulgarian and Romanian nationals still require a work permit to work as employees in Belgium.

Matthias Lommers, Advocaat/Avocat, Tel.: +32 2 800 70 69, E-mail: mlommers@laga.be

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