On 30 July 2021, Belgium’s government published, again, an update concerning the countries for which Belgium has instituted a travel ban.  With this last update, the travel ban covers individuals travelling from 23 countries into Belgium. (For prior coverage, see the following issues of GMS Flash Alert: 2021-206 (27 July 2021), 2021-204 (22 July 2021), and 2021-192 (1 July 2021).)     

This GMS Flash Alert highlights the update of 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.  However, many companies are slowly starting to resume their international travel plans and prepare for upcoming business travel and assignments.  Notwithstanding, the increased travel restrictions triggered by the rise of new COVID-19 variants could again impact travel and relocations to Belgium.  

Employers and their mobile employees may need to reconsider – 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

Recently, Belgium decided to identify a list of 27 ”high-risk countries” and introduce measures intended to contain the further spread of the new variants in Belgium.  Several updates have been published since the first announcement.  On 30 July 2021, another update to this list of countries was published on the website of the federal government.1  

Consequences

The institution of this travel ban means that in many cases third-country nationals travelling from one of the now 23 countries will not be able to travel to Belgium until further notice (even if they received their work permit/single permit approval before the instalment of the travel ban).  The only exceptions to this travel ban concern:

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

KPMG NOTE

Employers will need to stay abreast of the changes to the list of high-risk countries since their plans for economic migration or business travel arrangements to/from Belgium could be impacted.   

Which Countries?

The following countries are considered as high-risk countries and individuals originating from those countries are not allowed to enter Belgium, until further notice:

  • Argentina
  • Lesotho
  • Philippines  
  • Bolivia
  • Malawi
  • South Africa (already denied entry since 28 April 2021)
  • Botswana
  • Malaysia (as from 31 July)
  • Suriname
  • Brazil (already denied entry since 28 April 2021)
  • Mexico
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Chile
  • Mozambique
  • Uruguay
  • Colombia
  • Namibia
  • Zambia
  • Costa Rica  
  • Paraguay
  • Zimbabwe
  • eSwatini (Swaziland)
  • Peru
 

 

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 any 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.  

FOOTNOTE

1  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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© 2022 KPMG Tax and Legal Advisers, a Belgian Civil Cooperative Company with Limited Liability (burg. CVBA/SCRL civile) and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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