The Flemish Minister for Employment, Philippe Muyters (of the nationalist Conservative New Flemish Alliance), on Thursday presented a list of occupations with a workforce shortage. For such occupations, businesses will have the possibility of attracting specialist profiles from abroad from 1st January.
The list of 20 occupations in particular includes nurses, several types of technicians and mechanics, crane operators, and other operators of building site machinery, long-distance lorry drivers, slaughterers and butchers, and even chefs.
To enable them to come and work in Belgium, foreign nationals having a higher education qualification will be able to apply for a three-year work permit, instead of a one-year permit. After being here for four years, they will have unlimited access to the employment market.
For foreign workers with so-called “average” qualifications, the list of occupations with a shortage will provide access to jobs on the employment market, without taking prior examinations. The list will be revised every two years by VDAB, the Flemish office for training and employment.
Minister Muyters says, “Experience shows us that examining the employment market for these profiles almost always results in a positive response. Employment migration of this nature is necessary to guarantee our economic growth.” He mentions that the Flemish employment market is collapsing under the demand for trained technical staff, which cannot entirely be met “even by looking for them on the other side of the linguistic barrier [within Belgium].”