With a strong culture and heritage of its own, Belgium is nevertheless a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, egalitarian society that’s quick to welcome people from all over the world.
French and Dutch (and, to a lesser extent, German) are the national languages, with English spoken widely in the international community. Although a relatively small country with a population of just 10.3 million people, Belgium consistently ranks high in quality-of-life ratings, thanks to its growing economy, low inflation, and world-class healthcare system.
For many people a move to Belgium is triggered by a desire for change, its location, or a new family opportunity. For others it is due to changing circumstances in their home locale, or a better job market elsewhere.
Regardless of the reason for the move, it’s useful to understand what’s involved in looking for work, work permit rules, types of job contract – and, for those with an entrepreneurial streak – how to set up a business of your own, whether as a small, family concern or a much grander project. Simply browse the pages listed on the left to find out more.
Permits and Visas
Within the EU, there’s no need to sort out work permits or resident visas. However, if you’re from outside the EU, there is some paperwork that needs doing. We can take care of the work permit, and that usually takes about a month (or more if you come from US). You’ll need to process a residency visa in your home country, although this is usually quite straightforward and shouldn’t take much more than a business week to arrange.
French language training is offered as standard, and can be taken in evenings or at weekends. If there’s an urgent need, we could schedule a week of intensive training. Like all languages, how much you get out depends on how much you put in.
Working Conditions in Belgium
Employment prospects in Belgium are reasonable, although youth unemployment remains a problem. Working conditions are generally good and Belgian labor laws give employees extensive rights after 12 months continuous employment – hence the large sector of the working population that still find themselves employed on temporary contracts.
The Belgian working week is typically 38 hours. Employees are normally entitled to 20 days annual holiday and 10 paid public holidays.
- For more information on work hours from the Belgian Government: Click here (in French)
- For a list of public holidays in Belgium: Click here (in French)
- To learn about annual holiday: Click here (in French)
EEA nationals also have free access to the three regional employment services in Belgium. They can advise on contract issues as well as helping potential employees find work.
- Flemish Community: VDAB
- Wallonia: FOREM (in French)
- Brussels and Central region: ACTIRIS (in French & Dutch)
There is also the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES), a partnership between the various employment services in the EEA. The website contains general information about working in member states.