To employ a non-European national in Belgium, it is generally necessary to apply for authorisation for them to work. If the application is approved, the foreign national receives either a work permit (which is valid for a maximum of 90 days) or a permit obtained through the single permit procedure. A "single permit" certifies the right to stay and work in Belgium for a period of more than 90 days.
Whom does this concern?
- An employer in Belgium wishing to employ a non-European citizen in their company.
- An employer abroad asking one of their employees to work in Belgium.
- Foreign nationals wishing to work in Belgium as an employee.
However, in certain cases it is not required to request an employment authorisation because the foreign national is exempt from work permit. It depends on the worker's residence situation and the duration of his or her employment in Belgium.
- nationals of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland;
- students, asylum seekers, nationals with subsidiary protection status, on humanitarian grounds, family reunification, etc.
Who should a foreign national who is in one of those situations contact?
The foreign national who is in one of the listed residence situations (Royal Decree of 2 September 2018) has to request a residence document from his or her municipality (population and/or foreigners department). This document automatically entitles him or her to work in Belgium. The foreign national does not need to apply for an employment authorisation with the Brussels Capital Region, the Flemish Region or the Walloon Region.
This new procedure replaces amongst others the work permit C and the work permit B for the family members.
The foreign national must gather the information and documentation relating to his or her residence situation or request it from his or her municipality (population and/or foreigners department). He or she should not contact Brussels Economy and Employment. "Residence" matters are a federal competency and thus not dealt with by the Regions. Brussels Economy and Employment refrains from any examination, information or declaration regarding particular residence situations and the related work permits, if any.
The exemption is generally limited to 90 days.
(article 2 of the royal decree dated 9 June 1999 for employment in Belgium during a limited period)
Who needs to request the authorisation?
The employer or their agent needs to request an authorisation to employ a foreign national in Belgium.
The employer or their agent fills out the application form, dates it and signs it. In some cases, this form must also be signed by foreign worker.
The applicant needs to be a natural person lawfully residing in Belgium.
That means that an employer established abroad, for whom an employee comes to Belgium to work there temporarily, needs the services of an agent. In that case, the agent's mandate must be attached to the application.
In only two cases, it's only the foreign worker who needs to request an authorisation to work in Belgium.
Who should you contact?
Read the following pages and send your application to Brussels Economy and Employment if the intended work location is situated in the Brussels Capital Region. (To determine the work location: see article 7 of the Cooperation Agreement.)
Which type of authorisation should you request?
Is the worker a British national ? Read the terms following Brexit.
What do you need to do?
Are you in a situation for which an employment authorisation is required before employing a foreign national in Belgium?Know which application to file
Did you receive an employment authorisation for over a year?
Then you have to send us several documents every year. That should happen at the latest a month after the year mark of the validity start date of the employment authorisation.
The Inspection régionale de l'Emploi (regional labour inspectorate) is responsible for checking compliance with the laws and regulations governing the employment of foreign nationals.
As a reminder, every worker should be remunerated in accordance with the Belgian legislation (for instance, the competent joint committee), and this remuneration cannot be lower than 1.625,72 € (collective labour agreement no. 43 of the National Labour Council).