Living and working in Belgium differently

Belgium is a small country full of charm. Small size doesn’t mean rural character. On the contrary: it is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.

The country is also linguistically interesting: the three official languages ​​are Dutch, French and German. These are not spoken everywhere, the country is rather divided into linguistic zones. Dutch is spoken in the north, French in the south and German at the German border.

Arrival in Belgium

Registration and residence permit

A huge advantage of Belgium is its membership of the European Union. This eliminates the need for many formalities. Immigration is therefore simple. As a European citizen, you can stay in Belgium for three months without needing a residence permit or registration. If you are staying longer, you must apply for a residence permit from a consulate near you in Belgium. This is granted to European citizens without any problem.

The residence permit is therefore a pure formality and is issued on presentation of proof of work or any other proof. Your stay is officially limited, but can be extended over and over again. Once you have received your residence permit, you apply for an identity card. You are now registered as resident in Belgium. The ID card makes many things easier on a daily basis and should always be taken with you.

Another advantage of joining the EU is that you do not need a separate work permit to work in Belgium as a European. This makes it possible to start working without the hassle of bureaucracy, no matter what type of job you are. You can also have your qualifications and diplomas recognized in Belgium.

Open a bank account in Belgium

You must have a Belgian account at the latest when it comes to transferring your first salary. EU citizens can open an account at any time. You can make your request online with a Belgian financial institution, so that it is even possible to receive your access data before you travel, without having to be there. Your bank card will be given to you later when you are there and go to a branch of your bank.

To open an account online, you need identification, which is usually done using the Post-ID procedure. To open an account on site, all you need to do is bring a passport or an identity card at the bank. You will then receive your EC card and the IBAN for SEPA payments by post a few days after validation of your request. Belgian banks send bank statements to the address of the account holder. The delivery frequency can be set individually.

Health insurance

Health insurance in Belgium is compulsory by law. The basic amount is the same for all health insurances and includes the same benefits for everyone, but with some insurances the reimbursement is longer. You can choose the health insurance company yourself, but don’t hesitate to ask your employer and coworkers for advice. As often, your employer pays the contributions directly to your health insurance fund. We do not cover all insurance, click on discover credit insurance in Belgium to find out more.

The work market

The job search in Belgium is done through job advertisements or the employment agency. As already mentioned, professional and university degrees are generally recognized without any problem. Foreign workers are mainly sought after in the administration, crafts and tourism sectors. In general, with a good diploma and / or extensive professional experience, you have a good chance of finding a job in Belgium.

Labor law in Belgium

Working conditions in Belgium are similar to those in European countries. The maximum working time is limited by law to 8 hours per day and 39 hours per week. Premiums must be paid for overtime. From the second year of employment, you are legally entitled to annual leave of at least 20 working days. Most businesses also have internal regulations, so you often don’t have to wait a whole year to take a vacation.

Sundays are only worked in certain occupational groups and a working time of 6 hours is not exceeded. Many employers pay their employees a 13th month’s salary, some even an extra half 14th month, which is paid at the end of the year as a sort of Christmas bonus. This is specified in the employment contract. You should always request a written employment contract if it is not automatically given to you anyway.

Taxes and Salary

Income tax is assessed once a year on the basis of a tax declaration. you have to pay taxes on your worldwide income there. If you have less than six months of tax residence in Belgium, you do not have your tax domicile in Belgium and you normally only pay tax there on the income received there.

Here are the basic tax rates for a single person:

  • up to € 13,250: 25%
  • € 250.01 – € 23,390: 40%
  • € 390.01 – € 40,480: 45%
  • from € 40,480.01: 50%

Find accommodation in Belgium

Rented apartments or houses are easy to find in Belgium. In big cities, like Brussels, there is constant change. You will therefore easily find accommodation.

You can find an apartment through internet advertisements and newspaper advertisements. Another popular method is “sign hunting”: watch out for “For Rent” (for rent / te huur) signs with phone numbers on homes in your favorite neighborhoods and call them directly. Sometimes it is possible to arrange a visitation appointment immediately.

Of course, you can also hire an agent to search for an apartment. They will give you detailed information about an apartment and help you negotiate the lease. They will also explain the rental conditions and contract clauses.

As in many countries, you must obtain a rental guarantee equivalent to two or three months’ rent depending on your place of residence. This guarantee will be used to pay for any breach of your contractual obligations towards the lessor. There are different ways to get a rental guarantee, the fastest being an online rental guarantee.