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BELGIUM: New Sanctions/Measures

The Belgian Act, dated February 11, 2013, provides for sanctions and measures against employers of third-country nationals without authorization. The law implements European Directive 2009/52.

Under the new rules, in addition to already existing sanctions, an employer who employs third-country nationals staying in Belgium without authorization can be sanctioned financially (for example, back payment of remunerations, taxes, and social security contributions).

A potential employer of a third-country national also is subject to a threefold "information obligation." The employer must: (1) verify before the start of employment whether the third-country national holds a valid residence permit or other authorization of stay; (2) keep available for inspection a copy or record of the residence permit or other authorization to stay; and (3) notify the authorities of the start and termination of employment under the applicable rules. Infringement of these rules, including document fraud of which the employer was aware, is considered a serious infringement under the Code on Labor and Social Security Criminal Law.

The Belgian Act also provides sanctions and, to some extent, potential liability with regard to a portion of wages for parties who work, directly or indirectly, as a contractor or subcontractor, with employers of unauthorized third-country nationals.

These new provisions took effect March 4, 2013.

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