Is your company planning to expand operations in Belgium? Belgium is a preferred location for international business, due in part to the country’s productive workforce. However, if you plan to relocate employees or hire new workers abroad, it’s important to make sure that all of your company’s team members have the appropriate visas and permits to work there legally.
If your company is exploring the process of expanding internationally, Globalization Partners can help make sure you’re compliant from the start. Our team of global experts knows how to set up payroll and compensation, how to navigate employment laws, and how to get a work visa in Belgium.
What Types of Work Visas Are Available in Belgium?
In Belgium, there are three categories of work permits available to foreign nationals. These categories include:
- Work Permit Type A: To obtain this permit, the applicant must have held a Type B permit for a period of four years during an uninterrupted, ten-year stay in Belgium. Type A permits are valid indefinitely.
- Work Permit Type B: This permit allows foreign nationals to work in positions that cannot be filled by Belgian nationals. It is valid for one year, after which it can be renewed.
- Work Permit Type C: This permit is issued to students and other temporary visitors. It is valid for a maximum of one year.
The most common work permit is Type B, and this is the permit your employees will most likely need. In addition to a work permit, employees will also need a residence visa to stay in Belgium.
Requirements to Obtain a Belgian Work Visa
Belgium is a member of the European Union (EU), which means that nationals of other EU member states are free to work there without obtaining a work permit. Citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are also exempt. Anyone else will need a permit.
It is up to the employer to obtain a Type B work permit on behalf of foreign workers.
To obtain a visa, employees will need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport, along with a copy of each page
- Proof of accommodation in Belgium
Evidence of sufficient financial means
- A police background check
- A medical certificate of health
- A work permit
What Steps Are Involved in the Application Process for a Belgian Work Permit?
Foreign employees will need a work permit as well as a visa to live and work in Belgium. It’s the employer’s responsibility to apply for the work permit, but first, they will need to prove that there are no job-seeking Belgian nationals who are eligible to fill the position. After doing so, the application process can begin. The process involves the following steps:
- The employer submits a work permit application to the immigration authorities in Belgium.
- Upon approval, the authorities forward the work permit to the Belgian Embassy in the prospective employee’s country of residence.
- The employee visits the Belgian Embassy in their country to apply for a residence visa.
- After receiving the visa and permit, the employee may travel to Belgium.
- In Belgium, the employee registers their arrival with the appropriate authorities and records their residential address.
- The employee submits an application for an ID card.
- The employee collects the ID card and provides their fingerprints.
After completing these steps, the employee may begin working for your company in Belgium.
Other Important Considerations
To sponsor a work permit for a foreign employee, the company must be registered and incorporated in Belgium. If your company does not have an existing subsidiary in Belgium, you can meet this requirement by partnering with a Global PEO which will act as the Employer of Record, hiring workers and sponsoring permits on your behalf.
After working for four years within a 10-year period in Belgium, employees may be eligible for a Type A work permit. Employees should be aware that they can apply for this permit themselves, unlike their Type B permit.
Stay Compliant in Belgium With Globalization Partners
Working with an experienced Global PEO is the best way to grow your bottom line without stress. Globalization Partners can handle all of the details of your company’s international expansion. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of our solution.