Parliament weighs new fee on foreign workers

16 Dec 14

BELGIUM

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The Belgian government has proposed imposing a new fee on foreign workers applying for residence permits.

What does the change mean? Under the current proposal, foreign nationals would have to pay a fixed sum as a “mandatory contribution to administrative costs” when applying for residency.

  • Implementation timeframe: The bill is in proposal form and has not yet been implemented.
  • Visas/permits affected: D visas and residence permits.
  • Who is affected: The fee will impact foreign nationals holding work permits and their family members, EU Blue Card applicants, researchers, students and others.
  • Business impact: The fee would add to the cost of posting foreign national employees in Belgium.
  • Next steps: The bill was filed in Parliament Nov. 28, and is being pushed for adoption as soon as possible.

Background: The mandatory fee, popularly known as the “foreigners’ tax,” is meant to offset the government’s costs of administering a rising number of residency applications. The proposed tax would be a prerequisite for residence authorization applications by foreign nationals applying abroad or from within Belgium. Those subject to the new fee include foreign work permit holders, their family members, EU Blue Card applicants, researchers, students and others. Some foreigners, including European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, would be exempt.

While the amount of the fee has not been disclosed, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Asylum Policy and Migration has indicated in an interview that nearby countries impose a similar fee of €100 to €300.

BAL Analysis: If the fee is adopted, employers and foreign workers will have to budget for the added cost of applying for residency in Belgium.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Belgium. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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