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Working in Belgium as a Foreign National

According to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, Belgium is likely to see a 9.5% increase in employment from 2021 to 2035. Belgium has the third-longest list of vacancies in the EU as of 2023. The country is struggling to fill vacant positions due to skill gaps. And the list of the most sought-after skills differs across the three regions of Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. The sectors witnessing the highest demand for talent in Belgium are IT, services, finance and banking, medicine, industry and production, construction, hospitality, retail, transport and logistics.

Here’s a guide to help you start working as a foreign national in a country known for its beers, waffles and fries.

Do You Need a Belgian Work Permit?

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals do not need a work permit to work in Belgium for up to 90 days at a stretch. Beyond that, you will need a Belgian Residence Card, an eCard issued by the municipality. Non-European entrepreneurs will need a “professional card” to work in Belgium. Citizens of the US, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Israel can apply for a visa on arrival for both residency and work. Also, there are exceptions for executives of multinational companies who want to establish themselves in the country. If you belong to a country other than those mentioned above, you must apply for a work visa well before moving to Belgium.

Types of Work Permits in Belgium

Based on the duration and skill, you can apply for one of the following work permits:

Fixed-Term Single Permit

The Fixed-Term Single Permit is the most common work permit in Belgium. You will need it to work for more than three months in the country and should be applied for by the employer who is a country resident.

Indefinite Term 

The Indefinite Term is issued to EU residents who have worked for over a year and third-country individuals with 4-5 years of experience in Belgium.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a special permit for highly skilled non-EU/EFTA professionals with stringent wage, education and experience requirements.

Self-Employee or Entrepreneurial Visa

Independent contractors, freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to set up a business are issued a professional card in Belgium. It is valid for 2-3 years and is extendable if they meet certain conditions. For this type of visa, you need to clearly state whether you are looking for freelance work with short-term contracts or intend to open a limited company that serves businesses in the region. You must apply for a long-stay card, a Type D visa in Belgium, and a residence permit to establish a limited company.

How Access Financial Can Help

Access Financial has extensive experience in contract management, payroll outsourcing and umbrella services. We have won the trust of many corporate clients, recruitment agencies and professional contractors with compliant and expedited custom solutions for employed, self-employed, freelancing and limited company holders in Belgium. We serve as the Employer of Record (EOR) and help our clients procure entry visas and residence and work permits.

Suppose you wish to establish a limited company. In that case, you must apply for Belgian work permit visas for your expat employees, which the national resident employer must apply for. Therefore, companies whose owners are non-residents need the assistance of specialised organisations like Access Financial to ensure compliance with local labour laws.

We facilitate tax management while fully subscribing to the labour laws of Belgium. We also offer immigration support. We have designed our services to help you maximise earnings and eliminate expat-associated risks to give you a hassle-free experience of working or hiring talent in Belgium. Let us take on your hiring and payroll management responsibilities for smooth and compliant operations.

Our advanced technology solutions ensure complete security and confidentiality of all payroll and employee data in compliance with regional and international privacy laws. Also, we provide employees with all labour benefits, such as social security registration, vacation allowance, maternity/paternity leaves, sick leaves and pensions, as per the latest regulations.

Learn how we can help you with our comprehensive temporary and permanent visa solutions for the immigration of skilled professionals to Belgium by emailing us at [email protected].