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Work permits – Trainee

Under certain conditions, foreign trainees can work in Flanders. In these cases, their future employer needs to apply for a work permit for them.

Conditions for following a traineeship or work placement in Flanders with a work permit

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 trainee who does not belong to one of these well-defined categories and who therefore needs a work permit can work in Flanders if the conditions below are met:

  • The traineeship is a full-time position that lasts for a maximum of 12 months. The employer must apply for an employment permit for this traineeship. For a traineeship, the employer cannot apply for a so-called single permit, even if the traineeship is to last for longer than 90 days.
  • The trainee is to complete practical training with the employer.
  • The traineeship is the continuation of a course of study for which the trainee has already received a diploma or study certificate (see Chapter VI, Section I, Articles 20-23 of the Royal Decree of June 9 (in Dutch)(opens in new window), 1999.
  • The trainee undertakes not to perform any other work in Belgium during the traineeship or work placement.
  • The wage paid (including any scholarships) is not less than the applicable legally guaranteed minimum wage.
  • The trainee is between 18 and 30 years old at the time that the work permit and employment permit are approved. This age condition does not apply if the traineeship is followed at a:
    • university
    • higher education institution
    • recognised scientific institution.

Exceptions

  • Is the trainee under or over the age limits?
  • Or will the traineeship last longer than 12 months?

If so, the regional minister may grant an exception in individual cases, if the employer provides grounded social or economic reasons in their appeal. The minister cannot deviate from the other conditions.

For the foreign trainee who comes to work in Belgium, the employer always needs to apply for a work permit and an employment permit, including when this is for a period of longer than 90 days.

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