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Organisation for Undocumented Workers
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New EU citizens

Information for citizens of new EU member states

In 2008 OR.C.A. has organised workshops for citizens from new EU member states in Brussels on workplace rights and legal work opportunities. The workshops were given in Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian with the cooperation of the following partners: ABVV Brussels, ACV Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, BON vzw and Werkwinkels Brussel.

There are no more workshops at this moment. A press release in Dutch has been sent out to expose the conclusions of this project.

We found that despite the fact that access to the labour market has been simplified in the past years for members of new EU member states, many of these EU citizens are still struggling to make ends meet. The transitory measures that have to protect our labour market are making it very difficult for them to find legal and stable jobs. Many workers are misclassified as independent contractors. Moreover, many of the Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens that attended the workshops in large numbers expressed the feeling that Belgian society takes no interest at all in their situation. They therefore welcomed this project very much.

Workshop in Romanian Language at Arthis 21/2           

But who is allowed to work legally and how? The transition rules are complicated. The following scheme can show you the way (not available in English).

Scheme on work permits for new EU citizens: Dutch - Romanian - Polish - Bulgarian.

IMPORTANT NOTE: from May 1 2009 onwards, the transitory measures are only applicable to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. Citizens of countries that became an EU member in 2004 (a.o. Poland) no longer need a work permit and have free access to the labour market.

On the other hand, non-EU citizens that obtained a status of longtime resident in another EU country, can work in Belgium under the same conditions as Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. For example, a Morroccan citizen with a longtime resident status in Spain (which he can apply for after 5 years of legal residence in Spain) can work as a plumber in Belgium with a B permit and his employer will receive a permit for this after 5 days.

The list with jobs accessible with the fast procedure for B-work permits can be consulted here in Romanian. It can be consulted also on the websites of the regional Ministries of Work.

On the page 'more languages' you will find more information in Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian.