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Work permits – Intra-corporate transferee

We call employees who are transferred within a company ‘intra-corporate transferees’. It is not yet possible for them to be attain a work permit. Pending amended legislation, the employer needs to apply for a work permit for highly skilled employees.

Foreign nationals coming to work in Flanders must have a prior employment authorisation to do so. Only certain well-defined categories of foreign nationals are not subject to this obligation​.

An intra-corporate transferee (ICT) or intra-corporate transferee who does not belong to one of these well-defined categories and therefore does need an employment authorisation can work in Flanders if he or she meets the conditions below.

  • the Flemish company (as user of the posted worker) and the foreign company established in a third country (as posting employer) belong to the same company or group of companies. This means the set of affiliated and/or associated companies mentioned in Articles 11 and 12 of the Company Code;
  • A professional or managerial staff member or specialist transferred within a company must have at least a level 5 qualification (Flemish Qualifications Structure), i.e. at least HBO5 (graduate).
  • a trainee employee transferred within a company should have at least a university level qualification (VKS6), i.e. at least a bachelor;
  • the posted worker coming to the Flemish company as an intra-corporate transferee must already have been continuously employed by the original employer, i.e. the third-country company, for three months ;
  • income:
    • this shall not, throughout the duration of the transfer, be less favourable than that of comparable positions in accordance with applicable laws or collective agreements or practices;
    • there is a presumption that this wage criterion is met if:
      • the salary for an professional or managerial staff member is €72,154 (160% of an average Belgian annual salary)
      • the salary for a specialist and trainee employee is45,096.00 euro (100% of an average Belgian annual salary).
    • However, this presumption is rebuttable, which means that it can be justified in the application that in the concrete sector the average wage is lower after all. This will then be taken into account when considering the application. The salary amounts (see above) are therefore not absolute!
  • validity period:
    • a professional or managerial staff member and specialist employment authorisation is issued for the duration of the secondment, with a maximum duration of three years. The prospective employer can immediately apply for this single permit for three years.
    • an employment authorisation for trainee employees is issued for the duration of the posting, with a maximum duration of one year.
    • Extensions may be granted within these maximum periods;
    • if the maximum duration of the employment authorisation has been reached, a new application for transfer for the same employee can only be made after an interval of three months has elapsed.

What employment authorisation is required?

As the employer, you apply for an employment authorisation for your prospective employee. The procedure and documents you need differ depending on the length of employment. Are you applying for an authorisation for the first time or renewing it? Even then, there is a difference.