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Belgian Work Permit

If you are thinking about working in Belgium, know if a work permit requirement applies to you. There are several types of work permits in Belgium as explained below.

Types of work permits in Belgium

There are three basic types of work permits (A, B, C including Blue Card) in Belgium. It depends on your situation as to which Belgian work permit is required.

To obtain a work permit the minimum yearly income must be €40,124 (which means € 3,343.67 per month for 12 instalments or € 2,882.47 per month for 13.92 instalments*).

*Explanation for 13.92 instalments:  if working a year in Belgium, an Employer has to pay 13 month gross salary to the employee as well as vacation allowance which is 92% of gross salary. Both of these additional salaries are taxable with usual income tax rate as well as social security is deducted. More info here.

Belgian work permit A

This type of work permit is valid for all employers and paid occupations in Belgium. It is valid indefinitely, in other words you can work for any employer in Belgium for any amount of time.

In order to get this type of work permit, you must prove you have worked for four years on a type B Belgian work permit within a 10-year, uninterrupted legal stay in Belgium. As ‘Uninterrupted’ it is meant – as not being outside of Belgium for longer than one year between the Belgian residency periods.

There are the following types of workers, who cannot apply for a type A Belgian work permit:

  • specialised technicians
  • highly skilled workers
  • workers on temporary assignment
  • au pairs
  • trainees
  • researchers and guest professors
  • family members of people who hold type B permits, are self-employed, or who do not need work

While applying for this Belgian work permit, you will need to complete the form ‘Application for obtaining a work permit A‘ (Aanvraag tot het bekomen van een arbeidskaart Aan). You also need to be able to provide copies of your type B work permit, payslips and residence permit. Additionally, you will also need to apply at the immigration office in your area, where you can also get more detail about how to get a work permit in Belgium.

Belgian work permit B

This type of Belgian work permit is issued for a specific job for a specific employer for a maximum period of up to 12 months despite the length of your employment contract. Nevertheless, this type of permit can be renewed so long as you still meet the requirements.

With this type of work permit, your employer must apply for the permit to employ you.  The work permit is valid for employment with the sponsoring company only and for the position indicated on the application. In other words, a foreign worker is only allowed to work in Belgium if a labour market test indicates that there are no suitable candidates found in the Belgian or EEA labour market within a reasonable term.

In order to qualify for a Belgian work visa, employers must offer above a set wage for highly qualified (at least a Bachelor degree) and executive employees in order to qualify, alongside certain other jobs.

There is a firm condition of the Belgian work permit B – that the employee must still be abroad. In such case that an applicant came to Belgium with the intention to work before holding a permit, Belgian immigration reserves the right to refuse an application.

If your application is successful and you were issued the type-B Belgian work visa, contact the Belgian embassy in your home country and apply for a residence visa to come and work in Belgium for that employer.

In case of changing your employer, you will need to apply for a new work permit and a new residence visa. To renew this particular work permit, your employer has to make an application no later than one month before your work permit expiry date. The process and documents required are similar to the first application.

Belgian work permit C

This type of work permit is applicable to those nationals who are staying in Belgium only temporarily. That means, for example, students or family members of consular officials, or whose right to stay is not confirmed, such as asylum seekers. This work permit allows holders to take on paid employment in any field and for any job contract type for the validity of their residence permit, providing similar rights of employment as Belgian citizens. However, this permit is issued for up to one year and can be renewed under certain circumstances.

Professional Card

A Professional Card is applied to Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who want to work as self-employed or start a business in Belgium. This card acts as a permit and authorises you to undertake your professional activity in Belgium. You can apply for this card when organising a Belgian visa, by contacting the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country before you arrive.

European Blue Card

The European Blue Card is a combined work and residence permit. It allows highly skilled workers from outside the EU to live and work in Belgium for more than three months.

There are several conditions for reaching the European Blue Card Scheme. You are required to:

  • hold a recognised higher education qualification,
  • be paid a gross annual salary of at least €51,882 (2017 figures),
  • possess a permanent, or minimum of a year-long, employment contract with a Belgian company.

Your employer has to get a temporary employment permit for you. At the same time, you can apply for the long-term visa for the Blue Card at the Belgian embassy in your home country.

Once the temporary work permit has been issued, you are given 90 days to apply for the Blue Card. Generally, Blue Cards are issued for 13 months after which they and the employer’s employment contract can be renewed so long as the same conditions are fulfilled.

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Contracting in Belgium
Contracting in Belgium
 Capital  Brussels
 Population  Approx. 11.3 million
 Language  Dutch, French, German
 Currency 1 Euro (EUR) = 100 cents
 Government  Federal Parliamentary Democracy under a Constitutional Monarchy