Belgium is not only home to waffles and French fries but also home to many businesses that look into hiring competent international employees for their business. It is an attractive country for international companies and holds a low unemployment rate. There is a huge demand for professionals in diverse sectors such as Social Services, Public health, Education, Estate Agencies, Engineering, IT, and institutions, and Finance, among others. Therefore, more and more businesses are looking into hiring skilled employees from other countries.
Although the legislative peculiarities in Belgium might be challenging at times, it is not impossible to hire the right international employees for your company. To get you started, we created a little overview of what you should know about hiring foreign employees in Belgium.
First and foremost, it is relatively simple to hire employees from EU member states, EEA countries, and Switzerland in Belgium. They do not require a separate work permit. Nationals from those countries can work freely in Belgium. They do need to register for the Belgian residency if they plan on staying more than three months in the country.
The legal aspect of hiring an EU/EEA or Swiss National in Belgium is relatively easy. Now you just need to find a suitable candidate for the open position in your company. Once you hire an employee or terminate employment in Belgium, you need to notify the Social Security Office (RSZ). This process applies to employees of any nationality and can be done electronically.
Other than EU-Citizens, Non-EU professionals require a work visa come to the country or a permit to work in Belgium. This factor might make the hiring process of international employees trickier. However, it should not be an obstacle for hiring your dream candidate. There are solemnly some points that you should be aware of when you plan on hiring a non-EU national in Belgium.
First of all, the whole process, from applying to collecting the work permits takes about four to six weeks. Applying for a work permit does not exempt the holder from visa requirements. That means you need to be aware of local visa requirements when hiring international employees. There are, however, options like the EU Blue Card or other work visa versions for Belgium that help you to hire the employee of your choice directly.
There are the following types of work permits in Belgium:
• A Permit: This permit is aimed at foreign workers who are already working in Belgium on a B Permit (see below). The A permit is only granted to people who have been employed in Belgium for a minimum of four out of ten years. This one is a general permit and not tied to a specific job.
• B Permit: This is the permit you as a prospective employer need to obtain on behalf of your future employee before they can start their job in Belgium. The B permit valid for one year and commits the worker to the company and original role the permit was filed for. To provide this permit, you have to prove that you cannot fill the vacancy at your company with any current citizens or permanent residents of Belgium.
• C Permit: People with limited-duration residency status, this includes, for example, students or refugees, can apply for this permit if they want to take up temporary work in Belgium. C Permits are not tied to a specific job or employer.
There is always the option to hire employees who already own an EU-Blue-Card or file for one. In that case, you will not need to apply for a separate work visa. Otherwise, we recommend finding professionals who can assist with the hiring process and the visa and residency applications.
How to hire international employees in Belgium?
Does the concept of hiring in Belgium sound complicated to you? A Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) might help to hire internationally in Belgium and other EU countries, without having to go through the process yourself. A PEO takes care of all your HR needs, including hiring.
Do you plan on hiring international employees in Belgium? Then do not hesitate to take advantage of our PEO services in Belgium or get in touch to find assistance and a customised solution for your hiring needs.