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Contributed by Céline Verbrouck (Publication : june 2019)

I. Overview

The Belgian Government has taken legislative action to prepare for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU without a deal. A bill on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was adopted on 3 April 2019 by the Federal Parliament. This law will only come into force if no agreement is reached by the day of the withdrawal. The Law of 3 April 2019 sets out temporary measures applicable until 31 December 2020.

II. Right of residence

Belgium has chosen to extend the residence rights of British citizens and their family members already residing in Belgium at the time of the withdrawal during a transitional period.

a) British citizens or family members with a right of residence in Belgium at the time of withdrawal

The right of residence of British citizens and their families already residing in Belgium at the time of the withdrawal will be extended after the withdrawal until 31 December 2020. During this transitional period, nothing will change for British citizens and their family members already residing in Belgium at the time of the withdrawal.

As the law provides for an extension of the right of residence only until 31 December 2020, British citizens and their family members with permanent resident status in Belgium (E+ or F+ card) or who have been residing in Belgium for 5 uninterrupted years are strongly encouraged to apply for long-term resident status (D card) in order to safeguard their right to stay after 31 December 2020.

b) Pending applications at the time of withdrawal

All applications filed by UK citizens or their family members prior to the withdrawal but still under consideration at the time of the withdrawal will be examined under the conditions applicable prior to the withdrawal.

c) British citizens with no right of residence at the time of withdrawal

The conditions set to obtain a residence permit for EU citizens will no longer apply to British citizens after the UK’s withdrawal.

When applying for a residence permit after the withdrawal of the UK, the general rules and conditions for third-country nationals will apply to UK nationals.

d) Family members of UK nationals with no right of residence at the time of withdrawal

During the transitional period (from the withdrawal to 31 December 2020), the same rules and conditions for family reunification as before the withdrawal will continue to apply to family members of a UK national who has obtained a right of residence prior to the withdrawal. To benefit from this exemption, the application for family reunification must be lodged between the date of the withdrawal and 31 December 2020.

III. Right to work

The Law of 3 April 2019 on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union does not contain any provisions concerning the right to work of UK nationals or their family members. Hence, the rules applicable to third-country nationals will apply to UK nationals.

Céline Verbrouck (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Lawyer
+32(0)28944573 (direct line)

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