Starting from May 1st, significant changes to labor migration regulations will come into play in Flanders. While some procedures will become more streamlined for specific profiles,

overall controls will be intensified.

The office of Flemish Minister of Work, Jo Brouns, has confirmed the implementation of new rules for workers from countries outside the European Union seeking employment in Flanders. Under these adjustments, employers will find it easier to hire certain skill sets, albeit alongside stricter oversight measures on labor migration.

These updates aim to facilitate the recruitment of foreign talent to address persistent labor market shortages. Simultaneously, they seek to bolster economic migration policies to curb instances of exploitation and improper economic migration. Notably, for select IT positions, qualifications will no longer be the sole determinant; instead, relevant experience will hold greater weight. Additionally, inspectorates will be empowered with legal grounds to justify refusals, such as cases involving companies lacking sufficient staff or turnover to justify hiring additional personnel.

Minister Brouns underscores that these new regulations will reinforce incentives for companies to explore the Flemish or European labor market before seeking candidates from outside the EU. Photo by Phil Whitehouse, Wikimedia commons.