New economic migration policy for foreign self-employed persons from 1 January 2022
The decree on professional activities performed in a self-employed capacity by foreign nationals was definitively approved by the Government of Flanders on 9 July 2021. This regulatory framework is set to take effect on 1 January 2022. In doing so, a new economic migration policy is being rolled out for foreign self-employed persons, with a view to attracting start-ups and innovative entrepreneurial talent.
The new economic migration policy for foreign self-employed persons is built around the three cornerstones detailed below:
- The introduction of admission requirements specifically geared to the nature of the professional activities to be carried on in a self-employed capacity
By introducing admission requirements, the project of a high-tech company will be assessed in a way that differs from the project of a professional athlete. These admission requirements will enable the Department of Work and Social Economy (WSE) to determine whether the project delivers innovative, economic, sporting, artistic or cultural added value for Flanders.
- Simplified and digital application procedure
The application procedure is being digitised, which means the enterprise counters and the diplomatic posts will no longer serve as conduits for the receipt of the (paper) applications. From 1 January 2022, foreign nationals will be able to submit their applications in digital form to the WSE Department. The payment procedure and the issuing of the professional card shall also be fully digital.
- Attention for tackling misuse
The new policy is alive to the need to tackle misuse, such as illegal professional activities carried on in a self-employed capacity and fraudulent constructions. It provides the various inspectorates with more and better tools to take efficient action when offences are established.
The decree was definitively approved by the Government of Flanders on 9 July 2021. The approval of the implementing decree is expected in the autumn. Please see the Werkzin-e newsletter for progress updates on this new set of rules. The new policy also means the website pages at vlaanderen.be shall be updated in due course.