Obtaining a work permit in Belgium is mandatory for non – EU citizens. A person can apply for a work permit as a direct employee of a Belgian company or as the employee of a foreign company, which is providing services for a Belgian company. The foreign company must not be a recruitment agency and must produce a service contract as part of the application.
Those who wish to work as self – employed in Belgium must apply for a Professional Card. The application process in this case can take up to a year.
Belgium issues three types of work permits as following:
C permits are valid for one year, usually issued to domestic or agricultural workers. These types of permits are not renewable.
B permits are valid for one employer, for the period of one year, after which the same employer can renew them, usually, for the same job or job classification. If a person changes employers during this period of time, the new employer must apply for a new work permit. These types of permits are renewable after one year.
A permits allow persons to work for any employer in Belgium, for an unlimited period of time. These permits are issued for EU citizens with the residency in Belgium or for foreign persons who have an uninterrupted legal stay of minimum four years in the country.
Self – employers who wish to work in Belgium need to apply for a professional card. The card is issued for persons who have the necessary qualification in their field of activity or other proof to demonstrate that they are already established in a certain filed. The requirements to apply for a professional card may vary, depending on the country of origin of the person who applies for it.
Depending on the situation, some foreign citizens may be exempt from work permit requirements, especially spouses and children under the age of 21 of Belgian or EU – citizens who are residents of Belgium.