A foreign national who comes to Flanders to work must first be granted permission to work. This requirement applies to everyone apart from certain well-defined categories of foreign workers.
A foreign frontier worker who does not belong to one of these well-defined categories therefore needs a work permit. Frontier workers may work in Flanders for longer than 3 months, but a work permit and employment permit is always required for them.
Frontier workers are employees who work in Flanders, but who reside in a neighbouring country: the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France or the United Kingdom.
The frontier worker travels to Belgium for their work every day, but returns to their place of residence in the neighbouring country every evening. For example, a foreign worker who lives in Tilburg (NL), but comes to work at a company in the Port of Antwerp every day would be considered a frontier worker.
These “frontier workers “ cannot obtain an employment authorisation with a single permit since they do not reside in Belgium. Just like the employment authorisation for 90 days out of 180 days (via Schengen visa), it too is certainly not intended for this category.
As an employer, you therefore need to apply for a work permit and an employment permit for your future employee. For frontier workers a work permit and an employment permit can only be granted with a maximum validity of twelve months. And that is in contrast to the ‘regular’ permission, where a work permit and employment permit normally only allow employment for a maximum of 90 days.