November 6, 2012:
Introduced on September 10, Belgium is now accepting applications for its version of the EU Blue Card. The Blue Card is intended to allow highly skilled non-EU nationals to live and work in Belgium, and ultimately acquire long term EU residence rights.
Akin to other iterations of the EU Blue Card, to be eligible, non-EU nationals must have a valid work contract with a sponsoring employer in Belgium, hold at least a three year university degree, and earn a minimum salary of 49,995 Euros per year.
The application process will follow two steps:
- The Belgian sponsoring employer is to submit a temporary work permit on the behalf of the foreign national (to be processed within 30 days); and
- The foreign national applies for his/her Blue Card upon arrival in Belgium; restricted nationalities must apply for an entry visa at a Belgian consulate abroad prior to travelling. Blue Card applications are to be adjudicated within 90 days of filing.
The Belgian Blue Card will function as both a work and residence permit and will be valid for 13 months, after which is renewable. Dependents will be given the right to join foreign national within four months of issuance and will be granted residence permits, which are renewable in conjunction with the principal Blue Card.
Additionally, foreign nationals who have held another EU country’s Blue Card for at least 18 months can enter and stay in Belgium if a sponsoring employer submits a temporary work permit within one month of entry. No work may be conducted prior to receiving the work permit.
Belgian Blue Card Holders are permitted to apply for other EU countries’ Blue Card after residing in Belgium for 18 months, subject to the respective EU country’s requirements.