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Work permits – Highly skilled workers

A foreign, highly skilled worker can come to Flanders to work under certain conditions. Their future employer can apply for a work permit for them. 

Conditions for working in Flanders

Foreign nationals who are coming to Flanders to work must first be granted permission to work. This requirement applies to everyone except for certain well-defined categories of foreign nationals.

A foreign, highly skilled worker who does not belong to one of these well-defined categories and therefore requires a work permit can work in Flanders if they meet the conditions below.

  • The highly skilled worker (see Article 17,1° of the Government of Flanders Order) has a higher education or university diploma or degree, or the equivalent, that is:
    • at least at a Bachelor’s or Master’s level of education (tertiary education level) that:
      • lasted for at least three years
      • or leads to education qualification level 5.
    • awarded by a higher-education institution that is recognised by the state where the institution is situated. A diploma or certificate from a private educational institution is therefore not valid.
  • The wage for highly skilled +30years in local employment with Belgian employment contract:
    o Is at least as much as average gross annual wage in Belgium: 45.984 euros in 2023 - from 2024 this increases to 46.632 euros.
    o To calculate the monthly salary from the gross annual salary for local employment (with a Belgian employment contract), divide the gross annual salary by 13.92. This is how you catch benefits such as the thirteenth month and holiday pay. For 2023 this means €45.984 : 13.92 = €3.303.45/month and for 2024 it means €46.632 : 13.92 = €3.350/month.

  • The wage for highly skilled -30 years or highly skilled nurse in local employment with Belgian employment contract:
    o Amounts to at least 80% of the average gross annual salary in Belgium: €36.787,20 in 2023 - from 2024 onwards this increases to €37.305,60.
    o To calculate the monthly salary from the gross annual salary in the case of local employment (with a Belgian employment contract), divide the gross annual salary by 13.92. This is how you catch benefits such as the thirteenth month and holiday pay. For 2023 this means €36.787,20 : 13.92 = €2.642.76/month and for 2024 it means €37.305.60 : 13.92 = €2.680,00/month.

  • The wage for seconded highly skilled (with foreign employment contract)
    o Amounts to at least as much as average gross annual wage in Belgium: 45,984 euros in 2023 - from 2024 onwards this increases to 46,632 euros.
    o To calculate the monthly salary from the gross annual salary on secondment (with foreign employment contract), divide the gross annual salary by 12, as the Belgian regulation of thirteenth month and holiday pay does not apply to foreign wage composition. For 2023 this means €45,984 : 12 = €3,832/month and for 2024 it means €46,632 : 12 = €3,886/month.
    o For seconded high-skilled - 30-year-olds and seconded nurses, no 80% rule applies to wages.

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.

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