Attracting highly qualified and qualified third country nationals to Belgium and the EU (EMN)

This focussed study assesses whether Belgium actively attracts (highly) qualified third country nationals, analysing national measures and policies, their effectiveness and remaining challenges and barriers.

Belgian study

According to law firm Fragomen, to whom the Belgian study was outsourced, there is currently no explicit law aiming to attract non-European (non-EU) highly educated and skilled foreigners; but access to the Belgian labor market still facilitated for highly skilled workers. Specifically, there were numerous exceptions created on what is called "migration stop", especially for highly skilled. A previously European comparative study revealed that the Belgian procedure is flexible. This is a reason why the European "Blue Card" creates little or no effect in Belgium up till now.

The situation is different for skilled workers. For this category, the Belgian legislation provides no special rules or procedure, which means that the “migration stop” still applies to them. Facilitation of access to the Belgian labour market for this category is one of the main requirements on the employer side.

Until now, the legislative framework on the employment of foreign nationals is a federal competence (and she is implemented by the regions) but the current institutional agreement provides that this matter is regionalized. According to Fragomen this is an opportunity for policy makers to develop an active and transparent economic migration policy as well as a monitoring system that allows to assess the employment of foreign workers on the territory.

Finally, the report lists some recommendations and underlines the role of the media and the need to hold a public debate on labour migration in addition to other, more common migration channels such as asylum and family reunification.

EU Synthesis Report

On the basis of the national reports from Belgium and 22 other national reports an EU Synthesis Report was published on this topic in October 2013. The Synthesis Report and the other national reports are available on the European EMN website.

Publication Date:
Sun 29 Sep 2013
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