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Work permits – Shortage occupations

Foreign nationals who work in a shortage occupation can work in Flanders under certain conditions. In such cases, their future employers can apply for a work permit for them.

Ukrainian seasonal workers

Ukrainian seasonal workers who are currently living and working in Belgium with a work permit, exceptionally get the opportunity to extend this work permit, even when they will stay in Flanders for longer than 90 days in total (in application of art. 75, 2nd clause BVR). More information about extending the work permit for seasonal workers.

However, the validity of the ‘picking card’ (plukkaart) has to be considered. A prolongation of the validity period of the picking card (plukkaart) is currently under discussion.

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 worker who works in a shortage occupation and does not belong to one of these well-defined categories does need a work permit. They can work in Flanders if they:

  • have a Belgian employer;
  • perform a function that appears on the list of shortage occupations.

The exact conditions are available to read in the Government of Flanders Order.

List of shortage occupations

Does the occupation of the future employee appear on this list of shortage occupations? Then there is no need for the employer to prove that there is a structural shortage of suitable employees in the labour market.

The minister updates the list of shortage occupations every two years. It is based on the (mid-skilled) functions for which a shortage in the workforce was recognised at the time of update. The mid-skilled functions for which level 3 and 4 qualifications are required are based on experience or training.

Take a look at the overview and the list of shortage occupations which include the most important skills and tasks for each function.

Would the employee who performs a function on the shortage occupation list like to work via secondment? Or would they like to work with a foreign organisation, possibly even an organisation with a Belgian company number? Then the employee will not qualify for a so-called single permit.

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.

Frequently asked questions

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