Belgium is situated in Western Europe and has job opportunities in service and high-tech industries. If you are thinking of working in Belgium, you must apply for a work permit. Let us look at the different work permits applicable to Belgium.
Work permit exemption:
A work permit is not required if you are a member of the EU or an EEA or Swiss citizen.
You need not apply for a work permit if you are a citizen of any one of these countries – Demark, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, France, Hungary, Greece, UK, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway etc.
Work permit requirement:
In case you belong to a non-EU country and not an EEA or Swiss citizen, then you must apply for a work permit. You must submit your application for a work permit well in advance. Let us look at the different types of work permits available:
Work permit A: With this work permit, you can work in any job for any employer for an unlimited period. However, it is not easy to get this permit. It is available only for a certain category of foreign workers, who have already worked in Belgium for several years with a Work Permit B.
Work permit B: This is a standard work permit given to most foreigners. However, with this permit, you can only work for a single employer. The validity of this visa is 12 months which can be renewed. An employee cannot enter the country without this visa. You can get this permit only if your Belgian employer gets the employment permit in advance.
Work permit C: Only certain categories of foreign workers are eligible for this permit. It allows them to stay in the country for reasons other than employment, for instance study, asylum etc. The validity of this permit is 12 months which can be renewed if required.
European Blue Card: This work cum residence permits employees who are highly skilled to work here for a period of three months.
Professional card: If you wish to stay in Belgium as a self-employed professional, then you must get a professional card. This allows a person from outside Belgium to be involved in a specific activity as a self-employed person in the country between 1 to 5 years.
Application procedure for work permits:
Getting a work permit for foreign workers is subject to strict rules. Till recently foreign workers were required to have a residence permit and a work permit to work in Belgium. They had to submit separate applications for them. However, with the adoption of the ‘Single Permit Directive’ in January 2019, a single application can be made for both.
In September this year, the Belgian government extended the Single Permit rule for the EU Blue Card as well. Now there is a single application procedure for all types of work permits.
Apart from this change, a new scheme was introduced that will allow Belgian employers in specific sectors to hire seasonal workers.
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