How to get a work permit for Belgium

Where do I apply for immigration? (Consulate, immigration company, etc.) How do I make sure I have all my documentation properly prepared? (Help preparing documents, advisory services, understanding requirements)

When coming over to work in Belgium, a work permit will generally be required. This work permit is in most cases linked to a specific company/employer. It is the company who needs to apply for the work permit. The employee cannot apply for the work permit himself.

In most cases, the employer appoints a mandatory (law firm) to apply for the work permit and to guide the employee through the entire immigration process (work permit, visa, residency, social security, housing).

Are there any special requirements for work permits? (Skilled or unskilled, special categories of employment, etc)

The most common work permit for non-EU nationals is the work permit B for highly skilled people. Such a work permit can be granted to employees who are highly skilled and who earn a yearly gross salary of at least 34.261 Euro.

Specific work permit types exist for trainees, for members of the new EU member states, for researchers

A specific work permit for intra-company transferees does not exist.

Are there medical requirements for immigration?

For the purposes of a work permit application, a medical certificate needs to be provided. A general medical check is sufficient. The medical check needs to be performed by a doctor who is recognized by the Belgian consular authorities in the home country and needs to be stamped by the Belgian consular authorities before being submitted with the competent migration authorities.

I want to bring my family with me? (Related applications and requirements)

The spouse and the dependent children (aged under 18) are entitled to join the working immigrant to Belgium. They need to apply for a visa type D on the basis of family reunification with the Belgian consular authorities in the home country. Such an application may take a few months. Information on the application process and the required documents for such a visa application can be found on the website of the specific embassy of on the website of the Belgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (

How are workers' job skills assessed? (Formal assessment process, recognition of foreign degrees and qualifications)

A work permit will in most cases only be granted to 'highly skilled' people. The skills need to be proved by the means of at least a bachelor degree (or any other degree proving at least 2 consecutive years of post-high school education). Degrees need to be translated into English.

For members of the new-EU members states (such as Polish and Czech citizens), an exemption to this rule can be made if the employees will be employed in a function for which there exists a shortage on the Belgian labour market.

Do I need to provide proof of accreditation of my qualifications? (Some qualifications aren't recognized)

As mentioned above, generally at least a bachelor degree is required.

If no proof of accreditation can be provided, the work permit application will be refused. An appeal can be lodged, by proving specific skills. Such an appeal procedure tends to take a few months and will likely be refused as well.

Is age relevant to immigration for workers?

Age is not relevant to the immigration of foreign employees to Belgium. Only the qualifications of the employees and their earnings are relevant.

Can college students, or people without formal qualifications, apply for immigration?

Students can only immigrate on the basis of a student visa. Such a visa can be granted to foreign nationals who first register with a recognised institution (university) and who can proof that they have sufficient funds.

A specific work permit exists which allows these students to work (part-time) while they study.

What are the time frames for immigration applications?

A work permit is generally issued after about 3 to 4 weeks. The processing time can however differ a bit from one region to another (with a maximum of 5 weeks processing time).

What skills, knowledge, certifications will improve my chance of finding a job in Belgium?

Having at least a bachelor degree is a must when migration to Belgium. Note that is important to have a job and a work permit before coming over to Belgium! Immigrants who come over on a tourist basis and try to look for a job while in Belgium will in most cases be repatriated to their home country!

Is there anything else you would like to let job search community know?

Our office, LAGA, is by far the leading migration firm in Belgium. Our employment law specialists have acquired a solid experience in advising and assisting major Belgian and international groups of companies with a branch or subsidiary in Belgium with respect to their immigration issues.

Our clients include Japanese, Indian and US companies which have a presence in Belgium and Belgian companies with an international exposure. For particular clients, Laga often represents the only contact in Belgium with respect to their employees' employment and residence status/issues. Immigration issues mainly concern non-EEA nationals who may not perform a salaried activity or a self-employed activity in Belgium without being in possession of a work permit or a professional card respectively.

Services provided by Laga's immigration team are, amongst others:

  • Working out different international employment scenarios, based upon the international employment situation;
  • Application and renewal of work permits;
  • Application for professional cards for self-employed foreign nationals;
  • Assistance relating to residence issues;
  • Visa application advice;
  • Tailored social security and labour law advice in the framework of international mobility;
  • Outsourcing of immigration specialists;
  • On site client-training;
  • Auditing of existing immigration policies and procedures
  • .