Work permit C - Who is eligible

The following information, conditions and legislation were applicable for applies until December 31st, 2018 and thus is everything unusable from January 1st, 2019!
The new legislation, and the associated new conditions and documents, you can find it here: Naar werknemers buitenlandse nationaliteit (vanaf 2019)

 

 

In Article 17 of the Royal Decree of 9 June 1999 there is an exhaustive list of the different categories of persons who may be eligible for a work permit type C.

The Royal Decree of 13 March 2011 amending Articles 2 and 17 of the RD of 9/6/99 appeared in the Belgian Official Gazette on 29/3/2011. This RD went some way toward harmonising the provisions of the said Article 17 in accordance with the amendments which were in the meantime made to the legislation on residence.

A work permit C may be granted:

(a) to those foreign nationals who lodged an application for asylum after 31 May 2007 and who have still not been notified of the decision by the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons four months after their asylum application until a decision is served by the latter, or, in the case of an appeal, until a decision is served by the Council for Aliens' Disputes;

(b) to those foreign nationals who lodged an application for asylum before 1 June 2007, of which the application was declared admissible or on which no decision has yet been served with respect to its admissibility, until a decision is served on the merits of their application for recognition as a refugee by the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons or, in the case of an appeal, by the Council for Aliens' Disputes;

RD of 29 October 2015 (Official Gazette of 9 November 2015) reduced the 'waiting period’ of six months to a period of four months - see Recent Changes.

For asylum applications lodged after 31 May 2007, the starting point for the calculation of the four months must always be the date of submission of the application to the Immigration Office:

  • If, within the four months following submission of the application for asylum a refusal decision is served by the CGVS [Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons], the right to a work permit C will lapse, even if an appeal has been lodged with the RVV [Council for Aliens' Disputes] against that refusal decision.
  • If, within four months no decision has been served by the CGVS, then the person concerned will be eligible for a work permit C until a decision is served by the CGVS. If the decision of the CGVS at that time is negative, and the person concerned lodges an appeal with the RVV against it, he will retain his right to an work permit type C until a decision by the RVV is served.

In some cases however, the decision of the CGVS is annulled by the Council for Aliens' Disputes. The consequence of an annulment decision by the RVV (other than a confirmation or rejection decision) means that the first decision of the CGVS should be considered as never having existed. The case will then be referred back to the CGVS by the RVV for a new (first) decision. However, even in this event, the starting date for the calculation of the period of four months will remain the initial date on which the application was submitted to the Immigration Department.

2° to those foreign nationals who are recognised for subsidiary protection status during the period within which their residence is limited;

The subsidiary protection status is a residence status that was included by the law of 15 September 2006 in the residence legislation in implementation of European Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 regarding minimum standards for the recognition of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection, and the content of the protection granted.

Its purpose is to grant temporary protection to aliens who are not eligible for refugee status and who prove that there are serious grounds for believing that, when they return to their country of origin, they would run a real risk of suffering serious harm.

A work permit C can be granted to persons who were permitted to stay on this basis, and this for the duration of their stay.

3° to the foreign nationals who, within the framework of the fight against human trafficking, have received a residence permit pursuant to Article 110-b of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981 concerning access to the country, the residence, the location and expulsion of foreign nationals;

This is taken to mean those persons who may be the victims of human trafficking, around whom an investigation is being launched in this context.

4° to those foreign nationals who were authorised to a stay in application of Article 9-c of the law of 15 December 1980, who are in possession of a certificate of registration in the aliens' register;

This refers to persons who were granted legal residence for medical reasons and were in possession of an electronic identity card A / Certificate of Registration in the Aliens' Register stating "Temporary Residence" and valid for one year.

5° to those foreign nationals who were authorised to a stay pursuant to Article 9-b of the law of 15 December 1980, insofar as the renewal of the residence permit is made dependent on employment, except in the case of foreign nationals who were granted a residence permit after an employer in Belgium had submitted an application for an employment permit for them;

This refers to persons who were granted legal residence by reason of exceptional circumstances (usually defined as humanitarian reasons). These persons will in principle be granted an electronic identity card A / Certificate of Registration in the Aliens' Register stating "Temporary Residence" and valid for one year.

If the extension of this residence document by the Immigration Office is made dependent on, among other things, "a valid work permit with recent evidence of actual employment (employment contract, payslips etc.) + a recent statement showing that the person concerned was at no time being supported by the Belgian State (or PCSW [Public Social Welfare Centres]),…." then the beneficiary will be eligible for a work permit type C.

The condition of employment must be explicitly included in the covering letter with which the Immigration Office notifies the municipality of the decision.

We are not talking here about the various categories of workers referred to in Article 9 of the Royal Decree of 9 June 1999 (such as highly-skilled workers, professional sportsmen and women, entertainers, scientists, guest professors, etc.…). These persons must after all first obtain a B-permit, on the basis of which they will then be granted temporary residence. The extension of their residence will be expressly conditional upon the production of a new work permit B.

6° to those foreign nationals who invoke the privilege of a right of residence on the basis of Article 10 of the law of 15 December 1980 or of a right to a residence permit on the basis of Article 10-b of the same law, during the period of examination of the application for recognition of the right of residence as well as during the appeal to the Council for Aliens' Disputes, with the exception of:

  • family members of foreign nationals whose residence is limited to the duration of a work permit or a professional card or of the exercise of a self-employed activity,
  • family members of foreign nationals referred to in Article 2, 1st paragraph, 4° (unless they are nationals of a country that is bound to Belgium by an agreement of reciprocity), 6°, 7°, 12°, 14°, 15°, 25 and 26°,
  • family members of a student;

These will be foreign nationals who have an application procedure in progress for family reunification with a family member who is already permitted or authorised to to stay in Belgium temporarily or permanently.
These persons will in principle be in possession of a Certificate of Registration or an Appendix 35 during the period of examination of their application if their request was initially refused and they requested a review of this decision.
The following are however not eligible:

  • The family members of migrant workers (including the family members of the alien who obtained the status of long-term resident in another EU Member State and was subsequently allowed to stay in Belgium within the framework of an economic activity).
    However, they might qualify for an employment permit and a work permit B (pursuant to Article 9, 16° or 17° of this RD), if an employer has submitted the proper application for that purpose.
  • The following are also not eligible for a work permit type C: the spouses of students.

7° to those foreign nationals who have obtained a definitively favourable decision concerning a right of residence on the basis of Article 10 of the law of 15 December 1980 or with respect to a residence permit on the basis of Article 10-b of the aforementioned law, with the exception of:

  • family members of foreign nationals whose residence is limited to the duration of a work permit or a professional card or of the exercise of a self-employed activity,
  • family members of foreign nationals referred to in Article 2, 1st paragraph, 4° (unless they are nationals of a country that is bound to Belgium by an agreement of reciprocity), 6°, 7°, 12°, 14°, 15°, 25 and 26°,
  • family members of a student;

These will be the foreign nationals whose application for family reunification was decided in the affirmative, and who on this basis were in possession of an electronic identity card A / Certificate of Registration in the Aliens' Register valid for one year and stating "temporary residence".
The following are however not eligible:

  • The family members of migrant workers (including the family members of the alien who obtained the status of long-term resident in another EU Member State and was subsequently allowed to stay in Belgium within the framework of an economic activity).
    However, they might qualify for an employment permit and a work permit B (pursuant to Article 9, 16° or 17° of this RD), if an employer has submitted the proper application for that purpose.
  • The following are also not eligible for a work permit type C: the spouses of students.
8° to the persons who have a right of residence to pursue studies in Belgium in an educational establishment in Belgium for jobs outside the school holidays, on condition that their employment does not exceed twenty hours per week and this is compatible with their studies;

In principle the student will be in possession of an electronic identity card A / Certificate of Registration in the Aliens' Register which is valid for the duration of the studies and stating "temporary residence".

However, during the school holidays there is no limitation of employment to twenty hours per week.

9° to the spouse and the children under the age of eighteen of diplomats and consuls as well as the spouse of other holders of a special residence permit if they are nationals of a country with which Belgium is bound via a reciprocal agreement;

These will in principle be the spouses of persons who are in possession of a special identity card issued by the official protocol services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, insofar as there is a bilateral agreement with the country of the person concerned which expressly stipulates that these people have the right of free access to the labour market.

Belgium is bound via a reciprocal agreement with the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Peru, Chile, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

10° to those persons who were authorised to stay as beneficiaries of the temporary protection intended by Article 57/29 of the law of 15 December 1980 by the Minister responsible for access to the territory, the residence, location and expulsion of foreign nationals or by his authorised representative.

This concerns people to whom, in application of European Directive 2001/55/EC, a temporary status is granted in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons to Member States of the European Union.
This category always requires a prior decision by the Council of the European Union.
Currently, however, there are no persons who come under this status.

The Royal Decree of 17/07/2013 amending the RD of 9/6/99 (pdf) appeared in the Belgian Official Gazette on 26/07/2013. The purpose of this RD is primarily the partial transposition of European Directives 2004/38/EC and 2004/114/EC, as well as the implementation of the specific residence documents concerning (exemptions from) work permits.

Article 17 of the Royal Decree of 9 June 1999 is thereby supplemented by the following:

The work permit C is valid for foreign nationals who meet the conditions stated in the first paragraph (Article17,1° to 17,10°), but who are temporarily in possession of a document in accordance with the Appendix 15 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981 concerning access to the territory, the residence, location and expulsion of foreign nationals, because they are awaiting the issue of the residence document.

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