Conditions for family reunification have been changed

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Date:
23 Sep 2011

<p>Effective 22 September 2011 some new rules for family reunification apply. This will have consequences for family members who are non-EEA nationals (European Economic Area) accompanying a non-EEA employee to Belgium.</p>

Effective 22 September 2011 some new rules for family reunification apply. This will have consequences for family members who are non-EEA nationals (European Economic Area) accompanying a non-EEA employee to Belgium.

Spouses and "registered partners" of such non-EEA employees, as well as their children can obtain a residence permit by following a family reunification procedure, which could up until now take up to nine months.

The three main changes that have been made are:

- the foreign employee (non-EEA national) must have an income (which may not originate from public social security assistance) that is at least 120% of the Belgian minimum living standard income. This percentage was introduced to avoid abuses;

- this employee must have adequate housing that meets basic safety- health- and living quality conditions;

- the notion "durable and stable relationship" (referring to "registered partners") is now expressly legally defined. Such relation is only proven if (i) the partners can prove that they have lived legally for at least one year together in Belgium or elsewhere, (ii) if they prove that they know each other and have regular contact since at least two years (instead of one year under the old legislation), or, (iii) if they have a common child.

With regard to the duration of the procedure, the decision on the residence permit must be taken within six months after filing the request.