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The EIG Global Round-Up: July & August 2013

August 27, 2013

Belgium

The Belgian government has approved a draft Royal Decree on May 17, 2013.  Under this Royal Decree some work permit exemptions would be clarified/updated. The Royal Decree has been approved on July 17, 2013 and has been published in the Belgian State Gazette on July 26, 2013. It will be effective August 5, 2013.

The main changes can be summarized as follows:

– The work permit exemption for dependents of Belgian or EU/EEA (European Economic Area) citizens is clarified: at present this exemption for the dependent is linked to the family relation to the Belgian or EU/EEA national; under the new rules, the exemption for the dependent will be directly linked to the residence document, issued to the dependent. The idea behind this change is that such direct link to the residence document will make it easier to verify whether an exemption applies;

– The same change applies to the family reunification work permit exemption for Bulgarian, Romanian and Croatian citizens: the new rules refer to residence documents;

– At present only students in Belgium can invoke a work permit exemption for a mandatory traineeship in Belgium; under the new rules students who study in the EEA or Switzerland and who come to Belgium for a mandatory traineeship will be able to invoke such work permit exemption.

Croatia

On July 1, 2013 Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union (EU). Croatian nationals will now have access to the freedom of movement enjoyed by all EU citizens, including the right to free movement regarding employment. However, according to the “Accession Treaty for Croatia” other EU countries are able to maintain their own restrictions on employment for Croatian citizens for the next seven years. These transitional arrangements are similar to those applied to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens when they joined the EU in 2007.

Germany

Implemented July 1, 2013, Germany has two new visa immigration paths that reduce processing time for those wishing to obtain the Blue Card EU for work authorization in Germany. Similar to the United States’ Green Card, the Blue Card EU allows highly-skilled non-European Union (EU) citizens to live and work in the EU. Both of the options outlined below are available only to those foreign worker who have never entered Germany before and who originate from countries not in Germany’s visa waiver program.

The two new immigration options are as follows:

Consular Route – To utilize this option, the foreign worker should hold either a German university degree, or a university degree that is already recognized by the German government as a foreign equivalent. In addition, the foreign worker must earn more than 47,000 Euros per year. The applicant will file directly with the German consulate and the consulate officer will issue a decision without first consulting Germany’s Federal Employment Agency first. The processing time can be as few as five working days.

Pre-Approval Route -This option is better for those not holding a degree already recognized as a foreign equivalent by the German government. The salary requirements for this option are also not as high; the pre-approval route is available for foreign workers making more than 36,192 Euros, but less than 47,000. However, this route is restricted to those working in the fields of medicine, engineering, and other IT specialty fields. The processing time for this route is between two and five weeks.

Ukraine

On July 5, 2013, new work permit regulations went into effect, changing some of the processes by which foreign workers can obtain work permits in Ukraine. Changes to the regulations include:

– New specifications determining when the government deems it suitable for an employer to employ a foreign worker;

– New specifications demonstrating how an employer can demonstrate its need for a foreign worker;

– The labor agreement draft is no longer required with the work permit application, however, the final agreement should be submitted after the government has granted a work permit;

– The government now requires a medical certificate from the foreign worker, stating the individual does not suffer from alcoholism or a drug addiction; and

– The processing time for work permit applications has been shortened.

In addition to these regulation changes, as of April 2013, Ukraine has removed the requirement to submit an extract from the United State Register of Legal Entities and Natural Persons-Entrepreneurs with the employee’s work permit application. These regulation changes should simplify the work permit process for both Ukrainian employers and their foreign employees.