Employment & Pensions
Free movement of workers
Is a visa required?
Yes. EU/UK citizens will be third-country nationals. This means that a visa will be required, in accordance with the applicable local legislation.
Is a working permit required?
Yes. EU workers will be treated like third-country workers. This means that UK workers in an EU Member State or EU workers in the UK will need a valid working permit, in accordance with national migration law.
For Belgium, a UK worker needs to apply for a single permit.
Who has to apply for the working permit?
Under Belgian law, the employer has to apply for a working permit.
The adoption of a “Brexit Act”
Belgium is currently preparing for a no-deal scenario. In respect of employment law, the Government proposed a draft royal decree allowing current UK citizens to continue working in Belgium. Note that these are only transitional measures until 2020.
Social security rights and benefits
UK citizens working in an EU Member State or EU citizens working in the UK could be subject to two social security laws, which may require social security contributions to be paid twice.
However, we expect that a bilateral/multilateral agreement will be concluded with the UK.
European Works Councils
Are the rights of UK representatives in European Works Councils (“EWCs”) safeguarded after Brexit?
EWCs governed by EU law: unless otherwise agreed in the EWC agreement, UK representatives will have to leave the EWC, as they will no longer be eligible to join.
EWCs governed by UK law: EWCs will no longer meet the legal requirements for an EWC. It would be advisable to relocate the EWC in an EU/EEA country.
Pension funds must consider the impact of dealing with asset managers and custodians located in the UK; contracts with EU-country group companies must be novated.