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After the Borealis case: can contractors and subcontractors employ foreign workers correctly in Belgium?

It was hot news a few days ago. A subcontractor is said to have employed dozens of foreigners at the Borealis site in miserable conditions and for minimal pay. The media and politicians quickly reacted to this by addressing that all this could not continue. Contractors must be held responsible. Stricter legislation and policies are needed.

But is that really the case? Of course the government must tackle malpractices. Without knowing all the concrete circumstances of the aforementioned case, it is only logical that public opinion reacts with indignation to the situation of the subcontractor concerned.

However, it is incorrect to say that there is an inadequate legal framework to combat the illegal employment of foreigners. Contractors must report their worksites to the NSSO in advance. They must indicate who the subcontractors and any sub-subcontractors are. They must let it be known on a daily basis who will be working on a worksite. For foreign workers, they must make a Limosa declaration in advance. Contractors can be held liable for wage debts and for the social and fiscal debts of the subcontractors, etc.

Those who do not comply with this will be severely sanctioned!

Fortunately, for decades we have known many contractors and subcontractors who do want to employ foreign workers correctly. Van Havermaet International helps them and their foreign subcontractors to find their way through the maze of legislation and regulations. This ensures that you are familiar with all legal, social and fiscal regulations and can assess the responsibilities involved in employing foreign workers.

© Van Havermaet International 2024

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