Conditions for working in Flanders
Foreign nationals who come to work in Flanders must first receive permission to work. This obligation applies to everyone apart from a few well-defined categories of foreign workers.
A foreign paid athlete who does not belong to one of these well-defined categories and therefore requires permission to work, can work in Flanders if they meet the conditions below:
The professional athlete must:
- have an employment contract for athletes (see the Law of 24 February 1978 (in Dutch)(opens in new window) regarding employment contracts for paid athletes)
- undertake to prepare themselves for and/or to participate in a sporting competition or event
- is under the authority of someone else
- has an annual salary that exceeds a certain amount: 84,837 euro in 2021, calculated and adjusted according to Article 78 of the Government of Flanders Order. This will increase to 86,209 euro in 2022.
The functions below are also categorised with professional athletes, on the condition that the salaries paid exceed a specific amount (calculated and adjusted according to Article 78 of the Government of Flanders Order). For 2021, that amount is at least 84,837 euro; it will increase to 86,209 euro in 2022.
- Referees in the following branches of sport:
- Coaches in the following branches of sport:
- cycle racing.
For coaches who have not closed an employment contract for athletes, the annual salary must amount to at least 42,418.50 euro in 2021 (calculated and adapted in accordance with Article 78 of the Government of Flanders Order). That amount will increase to 43,104.50 euro in 2022.
Which work permit is required?
As an employer, you apply for permission for your future employee to work. The procedure and the documents that you need will differ depending on the duration of their appointment. Are you applying for permission for the first time? Or are you renewing a permit? This makes a difference too.