Working in Flanders as a foreigner
If you want to come and work in Flanders, you have to fulfil a set of conditions. These conditions depend on:
- Your nationality
- Your period of stay in Flanders
- Your future worker status (employee or self-employed) in Flanders
Carefully prepare your move
If you plan to come and live in Flanders for a long period of time or permanently, you need the right residence documents. You should bear in mind your fiscal obligations and the consequences of moving on your social rights. We also advise you to check in advance whether you can bring all your personal effects with you and whether or not you must follow a civic integration path.
For more information about the different steps to take when moving to Belgium, please check our article ‘Moving to Flanders’.
Check if you need special work documents
If you want to work as an employee in Flanders, you first need to get a work permit. Your employer also needs an employment permit. The same rules apply if you want to work in Flanders as a foreign student or au-pair.
The work permit is not required for nationals of EEA countries (EU countries, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Swiss nationals.
Foreign workers who apply for a bottleneck vacancy (available in Dutch only), it is easier to get a work permit.
If you want to work as a self-employed, you will need a professional card.
What are your social security rights when you come to work in Flanders?
If you come and live, work and/or study in Flanders, you can find all information about your rights and obligations regarding social security (family benefits, pension, reimbursement of medical costs, incapacity for work …) on coming2Belgium.be. This website offers an interactive tool to show you your rights in the Belgian social security system.
Nationals of European Economic Area countries (EEA) or Swiss nationals can find a lot of information about their social rights and obligations on EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.
Declaration obligation for foreigners who temporarily come and work in Flanders
Foreign freelancers wishing to work temporarily or partially in Flanders and foreign companies or organisations sending an employee to work in Flanders temporarily or partially, must declare it officially. This mandatory declaration, the Limosa declaration, has to be filed through the Limosa portal. The company or freelancer filing a declaration has to fill in some data: who comes to Belgium, when, for how long… After that, the company or freelancer will receive a Limosa-1 declaration certificate.
Some categories of workers are exempted from the Limosa declaration certificate: athletes, artists, scientists, diplomats, international drivers…
For more information about the declaration obligation, the exemptions and the declaration procedure, please check the Limosa website. You can also ask questions of the contact center.
Is your diploma recognized in Flanders?
If you obtained a degree abroad and you want to work in Flanders or for a Flemish employer in Brussels, you may have to get a recognition of equivalence for your degree. This document is an official confirmation of the recognition of your degree enabling you to benefit from the same rights as someone holding an equivalent Flemish degree.
For more information about this topic, please check our article ‘Recognition and equivalence of a foreign diploma or certificate in Flanders’.