A third-country national who wishes to work in Belgium must first obtain a work permit.
Salaried activity → single permit or work permit
Self-employed activity → professional card
In some cases, third-country nationals are exempted from the obligation to obtain this work permit.
Since 3 January 2019, all residence permits issued by Belgium feature a statement regarding access to the labour market: "Labour market: limited", or "Labour market: unlimited", or "Labour market: no".
A third-country national authorised to work and reside in Belgium may be accompanied or joined by their spouse, registered partner and children. The conditions and modalities for submitting an application for a visa or residence permit are explained in the section on family reunification.
Useful to know:
This site does not publish exhaustive information on the employment of foreign workers because, in Belgium, this matter falls within the competence of the Regions. Readers are therefore referred to the website of the competent Region.
- Flemish Region: https://www.vlaanderen.be
- Brussels-Capital Region: http://www.bruxelles.irisnet.be
- Région Walloon: http://emploi.wallonie.be (http://emploi.wallonie.be/home/travailleurs-etrangers/permis-de-travail
- German-speaking Community: http://www.dglive.be
As a rule, a third-country national who wishes to work in Belgium for more than 90 days must apply for a work permit from the competent Region through their employer. This application for a work permit is equivalent to an application for a residence permit (single application).
If the application is accepted, the Immigration Office issues a single permit stating that the holder is authorised to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days in order to work.
However, some categories of workers remain under the old procedure (work permit B or exemption):
- non-European nationals who come to Belgium to work for less than 90 days;
- young au pairs;
- researchers with a hosting agreement;
- workers who are subject to a temporary intra-group transfer (Directive 2014/66/EU of 15/05/2014);
- some trainees.