by Lieven Goossens and Marcin Pospiech
Due to the war in Ukraine, the Council of the European Union decided to activate the Temporary Protection Directive of 20 July 2001 by means of an implementing decision (2022/382) on 4 March 2022. This Directive has been transposed into Belgian law (Articles 57/29 and following of the Aliens Act) and provides minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons from third countries who are unable to return to their country of origin.
будь ласка, знайдіть український переклад нижче
As a result of this activation, from 7 March 2022, Ukrainian nationals, as well as third country nationals or stateless persons benefiting from international protection or an equivalent national protection in Ukraine and their family members, are entitled to temporary protection in Belgium if they resided in Ukraine before or on 24 February 2022. This is a special status and distinct from a visa on humanitarian grounds.
Once persons who qualify for this status have completed the full application procedure, they will first be issued an Annex 15 residence permit (valid for up to 45 days), followed by an electronic A card. Possession of either of these documents grants unrestricted access to the Belgian labour market. A Belgian employer may therefore hire such persons without having to apply for a combined residence and work permit, or ‘single permit’.
The process to recruit and employ a Ukrainian refugee will generally be the same as for a Belgian employee. That is to say, the usual employment contract will suffice (in accordance with language legislation). All legal provisions governing working hours, minimum wages, discrimination, etc. remain applicable.
The only legal difference is that the Ukrainian refugee must be in possession of a valid electronic A card for the duration of their employment. As the electronic A card has an initial validity of 12 months, this employment will generally terminate on the card’s expiry date. In principle, an electronic A card can be renewed twice, making it possible to extend the employment period beyond 12 months as well.
As a practical consideration, we recommend using an employment contract adapted to these conditions. It is also a good idea to provide the Ukrainian employee with all the necessary explanations and support regarding their employment.
Vandelanotte is happy to offer assistance with any part of this employment process and can provide support in Polish, Ukrainian or Russian. If you have any questions relating to such employment, please contact one of our experts.
In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.
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