04.02.19 British nationals working in Belgium: rest assured!
On February 1, 2019 the federal Council of Ministers approved a draft royal decree allowing 21.000 British nationals currently residing in Belgium to continue working on Belgian territory after the Brexit.
On January 18, 2019 the Council of Ministers had already adopted a proposal of the so-called “Brexit Act”, which aims at preparing Belgium for a no-deal Brexit. If indeed by March 29, 2019, there would be no agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union, the Belgian government wants to have taken the necessary precautions. Amongst others, it regards specific provisions in relation to the Brexit’s consequences for air and train traffic, international ports, food safety and the rules regarding access to the territory.
In the framework of the Brexit Act, our government is now in the process of adopting a royal decree, proposed by the federal Minister of Work. This decree will allow British citizens to continue working on Belgian territory after a no-deal Brexit.
More specifically, the royal decree applies to British citizens who reside in Belgium (in 2017 estimated at roughly 21.000 people) and who can continue to reside in Belgium in accordance with the aforementioned Brexit Act to continue working on Belgian territory until the end of 2020. It is expected that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the United Kingdom and the European Union will have worked out a solution by then.
Note that it regards transitional measures for British nationals residing on Belgian territory on the date of the Brexit only. This royal decree does not create any automatic right for British citizens coming to Belgium at a later stage. They will be considered as regular third country nationals, and are thus not automatically entitled to work on Belgian territory after March 29, 2019. As for all third country nationals, they will have to apply for the new Single Permit if their intended stay exceeds 90 calendar days. For more information, see our e-zine on the Single Permit via https://www.lydian.be/news/finally-single-permit-1-january-2019.
The draft royal decree has now been sent to the Council of State for advice as next stage in the Belgian legislative process.
According to the website of the federal Minister of Work, it is hoped that this initiative is answered with reciprocity for the somewhat 35.000 Belgian nationals currently working in the United Kingdom.
For more information on the Brexit, you can always visit our dedicated webpage via https://www.lydian.be/brexit-are-you-ready.