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BELGIUM: Croatia Joins the European Union; Belgium Maintains Restrictions for Two Years

Croatia joined the European Union (EU) on July 1, 2013.

In principle, all EU nationals can benefit from a work permit exemption in Belgium on the basis of the freedom of movement of workers. However, the Member States can maintain restrictions on the right of free movement of workers for citizens of "new" Member States during a transition term.

By means of a Royal Decree, dated June 24, 2013, and effective July 1, 2013, the Belgian government is maintaining such restrictions on Croatian nationals for two years, until June 30, 2015. This implies that the EU citizenship work permit exemption does not apply: in general, Croatian nationals must obtain a work permit to work legally in Belgium. However, they may have easier access to some labor-shortage professions.

The same restrictions are still in place for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens until December 31, 2013.

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