Immigration weekly update: January 4, 2018


Belgium: Single permit launches

A new combined procedure, the single permit, was introduced for non-European workers who visit Belgium for more than 90 days. This allows foreign workers to apply for one permit – combining the work and residence permit, and speeding up the immigration process.

The process

1.     Create an application file
An employer who wants to bring in or send a foreign worker to Belgium must include the following documents in a single file (work and stays). The file can only be processed if it is complete.

Documents for admission to workDocuments for admission to stay
  • Contract
  • Diploma
  • CV
  • Criminal record
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of payment of the administrative contribution

2.     Submit the application form
The complete file must be submitted to the Economic Migration Service of the Region and must be through a Belgian resident, either;·         The Belgian employer or their authorized representative ·         Belgian authorized representative of the foreign employer

The Region checks whether the file is complete and, if necessary, decides whether admission to employment can be granted. The Region must also forward the file to the Immigration Service that decides whether residence can be granted.

In the case of an incomplete file, the Region will inform the applicant, who will then have 15 days to complete it. The Region will also inform the applicant if the green light is given for employment. 3.     Approval
If the application has been approved, the foreign office informs the employer, the consulate (if the employee is still abroad) or the municipality (if the employee is already resident in Belgium). The consulate issues the visa to the employee who makes the request. 4.     Arrival in Belgium
Once in Belgium, the employee reports to the municipality. After verification of residence, the employee is also recorded in the register of foreigners and receives a single residence permit from the municipality. It is the municipality that issues the single permit.

Key considerations

This new procedure has major advantages for employers. As they only have to submit one application the process is simplified. Although the preparation time will be slightly longer, the combined process shouldn’t take more than four months to receive a decision from the authorities.

Unfortunately for visa-exempt nationals, the new procedure will not be beneficial. They can no longer start work immediately. Instead, they must complete the full process and obtain a single permit.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Agoria. Please note that the source link is only available in French.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA.


France: Minimum wage increase

The monthly minimum wage in France is now 1,521.22 Euros.

The minimum hourly wage (SMIC) has also increased from 9.88 Euros to 10.03 Euros.

This increase happens annually and is linked to the evolution of inflation and wages for the smallest households.

Please be informed that the increase has no link to the minimum salary required for high-level foreign employees entitled to Talent Passport status.

Key considerations

Employers should increase salaries in order to comply with the new regulation.
The same applies to pending applications and renewal applications. Without an increase of salary to meet the minimum requirements, applications will be rejected.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Service Public. Please note that the source link is only available in French.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA.


Switzerland: Negotiate terms with the U.K. to safeguard citizens’ rights

On December 19, 2018, the Federal Council of Switzerland approved an agreement with the U.K. on the rights of citizens after Brexit. This contract benefits Swiss and British nationals who have acquired rights in Switzerland or the U.K., based on the Free Movement of Persons Agreement (e.g. residence rights).

Following the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU with the U.K will cease to apply. Therefore, the Federal Council wants to ensure the existing mutual rights and obligations between Switzerland and the U.K. after leaving the EU (Mind the Gap strategy). Until the formal withdrawal of the U.K., the existing rules and agreements apply.

Agreement and enactment

The Swiss-EU Freedom of Movement Agreement (FZA) is also affected. With the agreement now approved, Swiss and British nationals retain their rights acquired on the basis of FZA. Services already started between Switzerland and the U.K. can be finalized as a result. In addition to the

residence rights, the agreement also regulates the rights to social security and the recognition of professional qualifications. The agreement does not apply to British and Swiss nationals who immigrate after the abolition of FZA when the U.K. leaves the EU.

There are two scenarios for the terms of entry for the Swiss-U.K. agreement:

  1. EU exit with withdrawal agreement:

If the EU-U.K. exit agreement is approved and entered into force on March 29, 2019, the existing provisions of FZA for relations between Switzerland and the U.K. will apply during a transitional period (presumably until the end of 2020). The agreement adopted today would only come into force at the end of said transitional period.

  1. EU exit without exit agreement:

If the EU-U.K. exit agreement is not approved on March 29, 2019, the present Swiss-U.K. agreement would be applied in the short term.

Before signing, the Federal Council shall consult the responsible commissions of the Federal Councils regarding the provisional application of the agreement.

Relations between Switzerland and the U.K.

At the end of 2017, some 43,000 British nationals lived in Switzerland. Conversely, the Swiss community in the U.K. was around 34,500 people. In 2017, the U.K. was the fifth most important market for Swiss exports worldwide (CHF 11.4 billion). Switzerland is also an important partner for the U.K.: after the U.S. and China, it is the third largest non-EU export market.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from The Federal Council.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA.


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