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Free movement of Romanian workers in Belgium PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 January 2011 15:29

On January 1, 2007 Romania joined the EU.

As in the case of the eight Central European countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004, the Accession Treaty of Bulgaria and Romania provides that Member States may apply for a period of two years after accession, national measures or measures resulting from bilateral agreements, to regulate access of nationals from the new Member States to their labour markets. This transitional period of two years (from January 1, 2007 until December 31, 2008) may be extended to up to five years (December 31, 2011) from the date of accession or even to seven years (December 31, 2013), if the labour market of any such Member State faces or is threatened to face serious disturbances.

Several EU Member States have restricted access to their labour markets for the citizens of the new EU Member States (including Romania).

As long as these restrictions apply, Romanian citizens have to obtain a work permit for the countries concerned.

Before examining the practical implications of these measures, it is important to note that this period of transition provided by the Treaty applies only to employees and not independent workers.


Since Romanian workers in Belgium are required first to get a work permit (at least until December 31, 2011) the employer must submit an application to the competent regional authority.

However, Romanian workers benefit from an accelerated procedure for the granting of work permits for certain jobs where there is a reported shortage of workforce. Under this accelerated procedure, the work permit is issued within five days from the day the relevant
application has been filed to the competent authority in the region.

For more information, access: d emploi / marche du travail / métiers en penurie/

For more information:
•     Walloon Region: Directorate General for Economy and Employment, Ministry of the Walloon Region MENU.html

•     Flemish Region: html

•     Brussels Region: Ministry of Brussels Capital Region, Directorate of Employment and Pluralist Economic Policy comme ressortissant etranger.sht


In practice, under what conditions can a Romanian citizen work as self-employed in Belgium?

1)    Diploma recognition

Documents produced in Romania must be authenticated by the local authorities.
Documents will then be translated and notarised in Belgium, before being submitted to the Ministry Education.

2)    Submission of the document requiring recognition to the (Regional) Ministry of Employment

At this point, the future self-employed person should choose the unregulated field of activity he/she wish to work in. Note should be made here that one may become self-employed as an individual (an easier and less costly option) or as a company.

3)    Registration with the “Guichet d'entreprise”

Being in possession of all the required documents, including a criminal record and a medical certificate issued in Romania, the candidate should register himself/herself at the “Guichet d’entreprise” and obtain an incorporation number so as he/she may start working as a self-employed person.

4)    Mandatory membership to a Social Insurance Fund

Membership fee may vary by field and type of activity, but, as a rule, a self-employed pays a fee of € 200 per month in average.

In conclusion, for the current period, Romanian citizens are still subject to the requirement of a work permit, at least until December 31, 2011. However, those wishing to become self-employed are subject to the same obligations as any other citizen of the other 26 EU Member States.

Lawyer at the Brussels Bar
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