The requirement to obtain a work permit for Belgium depends on the applicant’s nationality. EU/EEA, as well as Swiss nationals, can work in the country without this document while non-EU nationals who come to seek work in a Belgian city will need to apply for a work permit type and a long-stay visa type D (in most cases).
Understanding the requirements for a work permit in Belgium, as well as those for a residence permit, are essential for all foreign nationals who are interested in relocating to the country. It is equally important to note that the type B permit for work is issued for a specific activity, based on the relationship that has been secured with a Belgian employer before the permit application was made (an employment contract is in place). Changing the job or the employer will mean that the individual who is interested in remaining in the country will need to apply for the permit once more.
Moving to Belgium is an attractive option for many foreign nationals both from within the EU/EEA region and outside of it. The employment opportunities with many of the international companies that are present in the country are decisive factors for the decision to relocate.
Our team presents the main conditions and the procedures for obtaining a work permit for Belgium and interested individuals who need more details can feel free to reach out to us for more details.
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Work permit in Belgium for non-EU foreign nationals
The employer is the one who is required to apply for an authorization to hire a foreign national in Belgium. This is an important detail for applicants and it means that an essential prerequisite to moving to Belgium for employment purposes is finding a job, namely agreeing to the employment relationship. While it is also possible to first arrive in the country and then look for a job, most foreign nationals will first look for the employment opportunity.
Some of the most important conditions for the work permit for Belgium, the work permit B, are the following:
- Labor market analysis: this can be a prerequisite for the approval of the work permit and it involves proving that the employer has not found a suitable candidate from the local or EU pool of employees; it should be noted that this is not mandatory for all professions;
- Duration: the permit’s validity is one year and it can be renewed as per the employment contract;
- Delivery: when the application is a successful one, the permit’s delivery to the employee falls onto the employer;
- Visa: once an individual has his or her work permit in Belgium, the next step is to apply for a long-term visa.
Those who are interested in moving to Belgium for work purposes should know that the conditions can also depend on their professional qualifications as in some cases the applicant may need to have his or her qualifications recognized (the equivalence of diplomas). It is common for many of those who come to the country for employment to wish to apply for residency in Belgium.
Foreign nationals who wish to become self-employed in Belgium must obtain a professional card. The conditions are different from those for the work permit and we suggest discussing this separate situation with our Belgium immigration lawyer.
In the Brussels-Capital Region, the Regional Labor Inspectorate, with the Brussels Regional Public Service, is the authority in charge of verifying compliance with the laws for the employment of foreign nationals. One of our agents can provide interested individuals with more information on the various authorities that handle the applications in the two other regions in the country, Flanders and Wallonia.
Working in Belgium for at least five years will allow the foreign national to explore his options for being granted Belgian citizenship. For this to be possible, the applicant will need to have lived in Belgium for work purposes during this time (thus proving his economic participation), as well as have sufficient knowledge of one of the three officially recognized languages.
Types of work permits, presented by our Belgium immigration agents
As seen above, the work permit B is the most commonly used among foreign nationals interested in seeking employment. However, there are several other categories of work permits for Belgium and our agents list them all below:
- Work permit A: this is a regulated type of permit that may only be awarded after the applicant has been employed under a work permit type B for a certain time;
- Work permit B: issued for a specific job, with a maximum duration and the conditions described above; our Belgium immigration lawyers can provide more details;
- Work permit C: for individuals who are already in the country, for study purposes for example, and are also looking for employment;
- European Blue Card: issued for EU nationals under certain conditions; allows for residence and work at the same time.
Our Belgium immigration lawyers can provide you with more details not only on the requirements for lawfully working in the country but also on the steps that are common for all those who wish to relocate here, including but not limited to registering with the municipality, getting health insurance, opening a bank account and many others. We can also help those who are interested in obtaining Belgium residency by investment, as opposed to employment.
According to the Labor Force Survey for 2019, published by the Belgian Statistical Office, the labor market performed well, with unemployment recording a decrease. The numbers were the following:
- there was a 0.8% increase in the employment rate for individuals aged between 20 and 64;
- the unemployment rate for the 15-64 age group decreased from 6% to 5.4% (2018 vs. 2019);
- all of the country’s regions recorded good unemployment values, with Wallonia reporting a significant decrease from 8.5% in 2018 to 7.2% unemployment in 2019.
Foreign nationals who are interested in more information on the work permit in Belgium can contact our Belgium immigration lawyers for personalized details.
The work permit is not the only type of document that allows the holder to remain in the country for medium to long term purposes. Foreign nationals who have questions about the other types of residence permits in Belgium can reach out to our team. One of our agents will analyse your situation and will provide you with personalized answers, depending on your reason for relocation.