Flemish government tightens controls on labour migration
The Flemish government is tightening the rules on labour migration for people from outside the EU. The inspection services will be given a legal basis with reasons for rejecting an application, Employment minister Jo Brouns said, and employers will be encouraged to consult the Flemish and European labour markets first.
Last year, Flemish companies submitted 60 per cent more work permit applications for foreign workers than in 2019. "Flemish companies attracting international talent is the cornerstone of our labour market policy, and this must continue to happen smoothly," says Brouns. "But at the same time, we cannot tolerate abuse of the system."
"We cannot tolerate abuse of the system"
A unit within the Economic Migration Department has already been checking the economic health of companies applying for migrant workers. Now they will be given a clear legal basis for rejecting an application, for example for companies with no staff or too little turnover to justify additional staff.
Intermediaries who find foreign workers for Flemish employers will have to follow the rules for private employment agencies, adds Brouns. "This is an additional way for our inspection services to monitor these intermediaries. In case of fraud, their accreditation can be withdrawn and new applications will automatically be rejected."
Bottlenecks and work permits
To encourage companies to enter the Flemish and European labour markets, it will be easier to find staff for bottleneck jobs, or vacancies in professions where there is a shortage of skilled workers.
The Blue Card Directive, a special work permit for highly qualified foreigners, will also be amended. Applicants will have to earn 130 per cent of the average Flemish wage, instead of the current 120 per cent, to be eligible. On the other hand, it will be easier to change employers without having to reapply, and for certain IT jobs only work experience will be taken into account.
#FlandersNewsService | Flemish Employment minister Jo Brouns © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK