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Recently, the Belgian government introduced additional travel restrictions, resulting in a travel ban for individuals travelling from 27 countries (including Brazil, India, and South Africa) into Belgium.  On 24 June 2021, a new Decree was published in Belgium’s official gazette in this respect.1

As from 28 April 2021, third-country nationals from Brazil, India, and South Africa were no longer allowed to travel to Belgium (unless one of the limited exceptions applied).

This GMS Flash Alert highlights the list of countries from which entry into Belgium is, in principle, denied.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The various COVID-19 containment measures have had a profound impact on both professional and personal travel.  Companies worldwide have had to cancel or postpone business trips and assignments.  Companies are slowly starting to resume their international travel plans and prepare for upcoming business travel and assignments.  However, the increased travel restrictions triggered by the rise of new COVID-19 variants will impact travel and relocations to Belgium. Employers and their mobile employees may need to – at least for the time being – reconsider their plans.  To the extent possible, it may be prudent for some individuals to delay any plans to depart Belgium (if their plan is to return to the country) to prevent complications and the possibility of being refused re-entry at the border, as the situation is fluid.

Context

On 28 April 2021, the travel ban into Belgium started for third-country nationals originating from Brazil, India, and South Africa as a measure of containment in respect of new COVID-19 variants.

Recently, the World Health Organisation designated 27 countries as worrisome because of the rise of new COVID-19 variants.2

Belgium decided last week to identify a list of 27 ”high-risk countries” and introduce measures intended to contain the further spread of the new variants in Belgium.3

Consequences

The new measures will need to be borne in mind by employers as they plan for economic migration or arrange for business travel to/from Belgium.  The institution of this travel ban means that in many cases third-country nationals originating from one of the 27 countries will not be able to travel to Belgium until further notice (even if they received their work permit/single permit approval before 26 June 2021).  The only exceptions to this travel ban concern:

  • diplomatic missions;
  • Belgian residents/nationals (travelling back from one of those 27 countries);
  • professional travel undertaken by transport personnel and seafarers.

Which Countries?

Currently, the following countries are considered as high-risk countries and individuals originating from those countries are not allowed to enter Belgium as from 26 June 2021, until further notice:

  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil (already denied entry since 28 April 2021)
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • eSwatini (Swaziland)
  • Georgia
  • India (already denied entry since 28 April 2021)
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • South Africa (already denied entry since 28 April 2021)
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Zimbabwe

This list will be reviewed regularly and for a real-time update the following link may be visited: “Measures for territories of countries classified as very high risk” at: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/countries-with-high-risk/ .

KPMG NOTE

Any questions or concerns regarding third-country nationals wanting to work or currently working in Belgium should be directed to your qualified professional services contact or a member of the team (see ‘Contact Us’ section) with the KPMG International member firm in Belgium.  

FOOTNOTES

Arrêté ministériel modifiant l’arrêté ministériel du 28 octobre 2020 portant des mesures d’urgence pour limiter la propagation du coronavirus COVID-19 (Decree of 23 June 2021 amending the Decree of 28 October 2020 on urgent measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID19), Moniteur Belge/Belgisch Staatsblad (24 Juin/Juni 2021).

2  See the following link: https://www.who.int/publications/m.

3  For the updated list of high-risk countries (in English), go to: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/countries-with-high-risk/ .

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Belgium.

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GMS Flash Alert is a Global Mobility Services publication of the KPMG LLP Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organization. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee and does not provide services to clients. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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