Work Permit for Employees
The employer in Belgium must apply to the competent authority, via the public employment services, for an employment permit on behalf of the relevant national. If the employer is granted the employment permit, the worker will be granted a permit for work. The main criteria to obtain a work permit is that a suitable worker can be found on the labour market, to fill the vacancy, within a reasonable time, even after providing the necessary vocational training.
There are 3 different types of work permit:
- Work permit type A, which is valid for all salaried professions and all employers, for an unlimited period;
- Work permit type B, which is only valid for one employer for a period of one year;
- Work permit type C, which is valid for all salaried professions and all employers, for a limited period (must be renewed each year).
For more information on work permits, see the website of the FPS (in French or Dutch).
Professional Cards are suitable for the self-employed who want to work in Belgium. Cards are valid for 5 years and are limited to a precise field of practise.
New Member States
Nationals of the EU-Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are able to work without restriction within Belgium. Special rules apply to the new Member States of the european Union. For a certain transitional period, free movement of workers from these countries is subject to some restrictions. However, there are more flexible provisions for workers planning to exercise a profession for which there is a shortage of qualified staff.
You can find more information on transitional rules in Belgium on the site of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue (in French or Dutch). Job seekers from the new EU member states are not required to complete any formality in order to obtain a work permit, it is up to the employer to apply to the competent authority. A simplified procedure has been introduced for obtaining a work permit for positions in which there is a labour shortage. In these cases, the competent regional authorities grant work permits within five days.
- For all other nationalities, a work permit must be acquired.
- Travel insurance is required to accompany your visa application.
Visa Processing Time
It should be noted that, currently, the processing time for Visa applications is a minimum of 10 working days.
Applying for a Work Permit
People applying for work permits must do so using the forms available from the regional employment agencies.