SD Worx and BritCham EU & Belgium Present: Brexit FAQ’s and UK-Belgium Employer-Employee Issues

The most up-to-date advice and FAQ’s for UK and Belgium Employer-Employee issues post-January 2021. Advice subject to these issues not being revised as part of the ongoing negotiations.

For more information, contact Daniel Dalton Chief Executive of BritCham EU & Belgium at daniel.dalton@britcham.eu or Hugues Thibaut Head of Public Affairs SD Worx at hugues.thibaut@sdworx.com

Advice before 1st January 2021:

For British citizens in Belgium

Employees that have worked in Belgium and have a residence permit: Can they continue to work and live as before?

British citizens who already lived in Belgium before 1 January 2021 still have an E or E+ card and do not have to take any steps themselves. The Office for Foreigners will call them to issue them with an M card by the end of 2021. British citizens may continue to work here without applying for a single permit.

British Citizen employees that have a family member who has lived in Belgium for a while and has an F or F+ card: Can they continue to work and live as before? 

Yes, this person may continue to live and work here. The Office for Foreigners will issue them with an M card. By the end of 2021, all family members should have this new residence document.

British employees that live in Belgium for work, and return home for weekends: What should they do?

They must request an Annex 15 from the municipality where they work. In 2021, the employee will have this converted into an N card. They may continue to work here without applying for a single permit. 

British employees that only work in Belgium, but take the Eurostar to and from the United Kingdom every day: What should they do?

They should request an Annex 15 from the municipality where they work as soon as possible- this will also be converted into an N card. They may continue to work here without applying for a single permit. 

British employees that have an Annex 15: Do they need a single permit/work permit to work in Belgium in 2021? 

No, they do not need a single permit/work permit. They did not need this in the past either.

British employees that have already been seconded during the transition period, which will continue after 31 December 2020: Will they continue to be covered by British social security?

Yes, they may continue to be covered by United Kingdom social security. As long as the situation continues without interruption, they will be covered by United Kingdom social security. Without interruption does not necessarily only refer to secondment. If simultaneous employment follows the secondment, this will also be without interruption. The British government will continue to issue A1 documents for these situations.

British employees that have been working in Belgium 3 days a week and in the United Kingdom 2 days a week for a number of years under British social security with an A1 simultaneous employment that is allocated for a year: Can they extend it?

Yes, as long as their situation continues without interruption, they may continue to be covered by British social security. The British government will continue to issue A1 documents for these situations.

Belgians in the United Kingdom

Employees that have been living and working in the United Kingdom for some time: Can they still live and work there as before? 

They have until 30 June 2021 to request a settled or pre-settled status. This status allows them to continue living and working in the United Kingdom. By requesting a settled or pre-settled status, they indemnify the following rights:

  • Access to the National Health Service.
  • The option to continue living and working in the United Kingdom.

Employees that only work in the United Kingdom, living there from Monday to Friday: What should they do?

They have until 30 June 2021 to request a settled or pre-settled status. This status allows them to live and work in the United Kingdom. 

Employees that only work in the United Kingdom, but take the Eurostar to and from Belgium every day: What should they do?
From 1 July 2021, he must have a valid frontier work permit and a valid passport to work in the United Kingdom. Until 1 July 2021, they may continue to use their passport to work in the United Kingdom. The British government is still working on a procedure to apply for this work permit. 

Employee’s secondment period ends on 31 January 2021, and will be extended for one year: Will they continue to be covered by Belgian social security?

 Yes, as long as their situation continues without interruption, they may continue to be covered by Belgian social security. The Belgian government will continue to issue A1 documents for these situations.

Employees that have been working in Belgium and in the United Kingdom for a number of years under Belgian social security, and have A1 simultaneous employment which is allocated for a year: Can they extend it?

Yes, as long as the situation continues without interruption, they may continue to be covered by Belgian social security. The Belgian government will continue to issue A1 documents for these situations.

Advice from the 1st January 2021

For British citizens to Belgium

Does a British citizen living and working in Flanders/Brussels/Wallonia/German-speaking Community for more than 90 days need a single permit?

Yes. The place of employment determines in which region the employment must apply for the single permit.

Does a British citizen travelling to Belgium have to have a visa to work here for less than 90 days?

No, British citizens are exempt from the visa requirement. The employee must be able to prove to customs why they are travelling to Belgium with an invitation or work permit. Customs may ask for any supporting documents such as a hotel reservation.

Does a British citizen who comes to work in Flanders/Brussels/Wallonia/German-speaking Community for less than 90 days within a period of 180 days need a work permit or a single permit?

Yes. The place of employment determines in which region the employer must apply for the work permit. 

Does a British citizen who stays in Belgium to work for less than 90 days need a Belgian residence document?

  • Hotel: If the British employee is staying in a hotel, they do not have to register with the municipality. Their British passport is sufficient.
  • Apartment/house: If a British citizen rents a house in Belgium, they must register with the municipality. They will then receive an Annex 3 or an Annex 15 as a frontier worker.

A British employer is temporarily seconding a British employee to Belgium (100% employment): Will they continue to be covered by British social security?

This situation has not yet been resolved and is part of the negotiations. If there is no agreement, British citizens can come to Belgium for 52 weeks under British social security. If they stay for longer, this situation must be assessed further.

A British employee works in Belgium 3 days a week and in the United Kingdom for 2 days a week: Where do they have to pay their social security contributions?

This situation has not yet been resolved and is part of the negotiations. We will update as we have more news. If there is no agreement, British citizens may be socially insured in Belgium and the UK.

A British employee lives in Belgium and also works in the Netherlands and Belgium: Does the European Social Security Regulation still apply to them?

Yes, this regulation also applies to nationals of non-member countries, including British citizens. You can also apply these European rules to the employment situation of the British employee.

For Belgian Citizens to the United Kingdom

Does a Belgian travelling to the United Kingdom need a visa to work there?

In certain cases, they do not need a visa to travel to the United Kingdom for professional reasons. For example, if they attend meetings or negotiate contracts. In other cases, visas are required regardless of the duration of work in the United Kingdom.

An employee lives and only works in the United Kingdom for a British employer: What do I need to do?

The employee must apply for a specific visa based on points. Only employees who can demonstrate sufficient points may still enter the United Kingdom. The British Government allocates points based on the skills, qualification and income of Belgians. The employee must score at least 70 points to be able to work in the United Kingdom. This will be the case, for example, if they:

  • Have already received a job offer from a British employer (20 points).
  • Are highly qualified (20 points).
  • Have a minimum annual salary of currently £25,600 (20 points).
  • Can speak English (10 points).

In addition, the British employer must act as a sponsor.

An employee only works and lives in the United Kingdom: What do I need to do?

They must have a visa. In order to obtain a visa, they must have a recognised British company as a sponsor. If there is no recognised British company, it will be difficult to employ a Belgian in the United Kingdom. A Belgian company should have a British branch or establishment on British territory.

I am temporarily sending my employee to our United Kingdom sister company to carry out an assignment: What needs to be done?

The employee will apply for an Intra-company transfer visa and the company will act as a sponsor. Unless the employee earns £73,900 or more per year and working for you for at least 12 months.

I am seconding my employee temporarily (100% employment) to the United Kingdom: Will they continue to be covered by Belgian social security?

The situation has not yet been resolved and is part of the negotiations. If there is no agreement, you can second the employee to the UK under Belgian social security for six months. The six-month period may be extended once for a further six months. If they stay for longer, the situation must be assessed further.

My employee works in Belgium 3 days a week and in the United Kingdom for 2 days a week: Where do they have to pay their social security contributions?

The situation has not yet been resolved and is part of the negotiations. If there is no agreement, Belgian citizens run the risk of being socially insured in Belgium and the United Kingdom.

I am sending an employee to our British branch whose secondment will last a number of years and they do not want to lose their Belgian social security: What are their options?

If covered under British social security is not sufficient for the employee, the employee can still join the Overseas Social Security scheme.


BRITCHAM SUPPORT
Here at the British Chamber of Commerce, we will continue to update you with the necessary information to help all our members to succeed. We are all in this together, and with the right plans in place, consumer confidence can be restored. BritCham offers support, guidance and specialised coverage for both Brexit and COVID-19, including webinars, workshops and events that will give your firm the tools it needs to navigate through this challenging period. Click here to register: 
https://www.britishchamber.be/upcoming-events

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