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BELGIUM – Minimum Salary Levels for 2012 Announced – Changes to Visa Procedure Causing Delay

Belgium’s immigration authorities have announced the new minimum salary levels to take effect from 1 January 2012 for all foreign nationals on Type B work permits in Belgium. In addition, several immigration applications are being subjected to greater scrutiny, which is having a negative impact on processing times.

Minimum Salary for 2012

The new minimum salary levels are as follows:

  • Highly qualified personnel : €37,721 EUR per annum
  • Management level employees : €62,934 EUR per annumThese amounts are up from €36,604 and €61,071 respectively for 2011. Only salary on which social security (if paid in Belgium) or tax (if paid outside Belgium) is paid may count towards the minimum levels, so per diems and other allowances will typically not be able to be included in minimum salary calculations. It is important to note that the new salary levels apply to all Type B Work Permit holders in Belgium, not just to new applications: i.e. salary levels may need to be adjusted for existing employees.

Belgium Visa Delays

Belgium has also recently made changes to immigration processes, focussing on greater scrutiny of applications, which is extending processing times for visa applications, as follows:

  • Visa applications made at Embassies/consulates are now being referred back to Belgium rather than being decided by staff at the Embassy/Consulate. This is delaying applications by several weeks;
  • Applications for dependents of work permit holders are no longer possible from inside Belgium – all dependents must enter on the correct D Type visa in order to obtain Belgian residence permits;
  • Residence permit renewals are also subject to greater scrutiny by immigration authorities and the foreign police, and are taking longer to process as a result.

Action Items

  • Note new minimum salary levels for 2012: review salaries of existing expatriates in Belgium to confirm that they comply with the new criteria and ensure that salaries for new moves to Belgium meet requirements;
  • Bear in mind that processing times for visas and for residence permit renewals are currently extended due to greater scrutiny of applications.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.