Belgium has finally implemented EU ICT permit

Belgium has introduced the EU Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) permit on 16 December 2021. All EU Member States have now implemented the Directive, except for Denmark and Ireland who opted out.

This new permit will co-exist together with the standard single permit and the EU Blue Card. The EU ICT permit is a combined work and residence permit that allows a temporary intra-company transfer of highly qualified employees, providing both short- and long-term mobility rights.

The main benefit is that it offers the holder the option to work for an entity of the same group for up to 90 days (in any 180-day period) in another EU Member State, without the need to apply for another work permit. If the employee is sent to Belgium, the employer must submit a LIMOSA notification. In addition, the holder can decide to take up work and residence in Belgium for more than 90 days, provided they apply for a mobile ICT Permit with the Belgian regional employment authorities.

This scheme is especially attractive for multinational companies that want to temporarily mobilize their workforce to different countries across the EU. In this context, basically two scenarios are possible from a Belgian perspective: (i) a non-EU company sends their employee directly to a Belgian entity, or (ii) first to an entity in another EU Member State and subsequently to Belgium.

The EU ICT permit is available to executives/managers, specialists, and trainees/interns.

  • An executive/manager is a senior staff member who primarily manages the host entity under the general supervision of the board of directors or the company’s shareholders;
  • A specialist is someone who has specific knowledge that is essential for the activities or the management of the host entity;
  • A trainee/intern has a university degree and is assigned to the host entity for career development purposes and/or on the business training. There is a remuneration requirement for such traineeship.

Managers, specialists, and trainees must have been working in the sending non-EU company for at least 3 months (Flanders and Wallonia) or 6 months (Brussels) to qualify for the EU ICT Permit and need to have their main residence outside the EU when applying.

Dependent family members are also allowed to work in Belgium without the need for a separate work authorization or work permit.

As far as the duration of the permit is concerned, managers and specialists can come to Belgium with an ICT permit for a maximum of 3 years. For trainees, the maximum duration has been set to 1 year (6 months in Wallonia). It should be mentioned that the period of temporary transfer to another EU Member State counts towards the maximum duration of the permit. The EU ICT Permit does not count towards permanent residency.

As work permits are a regional competence in Belgium, the specific conditions differ depending on the region to which the foreign employee is seconded to:

  • In respect to seniority, Brussels requires that the employee has at least 6 months of seniority with the foreign company, before being allowed to apply for the ICT permit. In Wallonia and Flanders, 3 months is sufficient.
  • For the salary requirements, Brussels imposes a minimum threshold of €57.019,00 (2022) gross per year for an executive. For Flanders and Wallonia, the required minimum salary levels correspond to those of the standard single permit for highly skilled workers.
  • Except for a few minor differences, the qualification requirements for managers, specialists and trainees are similar to those for the standard single permit in the three regions.

Brussels has been accepting EU ICT Permit applications following partial implementation already since 2020, but now Wallonia and Flanders will start issuing them as well.

 

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