Employment of foreign workers - Accession of Croatia to the European Union: Croatians still need a working permit for at least two years

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Date:
12 Jul 2013

<p>Though Croatia is now an EU Member State, its nationals still need a working permit until at least 30 June 2015 in order to be able to work in Belgium.</p>

Though Croatia is now an EU Member State, its nationals still need a working permit until at least 30 June 2015 in order to be able to work in Belgium.

With the accession of Croatia to the European Union on 1 July the free movement of workers is in principle applicable to the nationals of that country. However, Croatians are not yet able to work in Belgium without a working permit. In the Accession Treaty a number of transitional arrangements were provided to protect the national labour markets. The Royal Decree of 24 June 2013 provides that Croatians will still need a working permit until at least 20 June 2015 in order to be able to work in Belgium.

The arrangement is similar to the arrangement currently applicable to Romanians and Bulgarians. The obligation for those nationals will however only remain in force until 31 December 2013.

By analogy with the arrangement for Bulgarian and Romanian workers, there is a specific arrangement for so-called "shortage occupations".

In the event the Croatian workers can invoke another exemption provided in the current regulation, there is obviously no obligation to apply for a working permit, as for example in the case of workers being posted to Belgium in the context of intra-Community services for their EEA-based employer.

Moreover, the limitations on the free access to the labour market only apply to workers with Croatian nationality. Self-employed Croatian nationals can make use of their freedom to provide services without limitations.

> Action point

Companies employing Croatians in Belgium must apply for a working permit for these workers until at least the end of June 2015, unless they can invoke another exemption.