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Working in Belgium – What do you Need to Know?


Belgium, Europe’s political centre. An appealing location for many entrepreneurs and companies. The country has a rich history and a remarkable culture. However, lots needs to be arranged for those who want to work in Belgium. What are the most important things you need to know? We have listed them.

Belgian work permit

Are you a citizen of one of the countries of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland? Then a work permit is not needed.

All others must first acquire a valid work permit to be able to work in Belgium. The Belgian employer must apply for a type B work permit. Based on the work permit, you can also apply for a visa.

The following is required to apply for a work permit:

  • A completed form “application for employment of a foreign employee”;
  • A medical certificate;
  • A valid contract with your employer;
  • A copy of your passport, valid for at least one year still.

TCP Solutions has lots of experience in existing with work permits in Belgium. Read more about this service here.

Taxes in Belgium

In Belgium, tax brackets change relatively often. On a global level, taxes are relatively high in Belgium. The employer deducts the tax from the salary and pays this to the government. This money considered an advance. Each year, every employee must complete a tax declaration. The government then checks whether there’s a difference in the final amount to be paid and the amount received in advance.

Tax Bracket – Income Bracket (figures from 2015-2016) – Tax Percentage

  • Bracket 1 – €0 to €8,710 – 25%
  • Bracket 2 – €8,710.01 to €12,400 – 30%
  • Bracket 3 – €12,400.01 to €20,660 – 40%
  • Bracket 4 – €20,660.01 to €37,870 – 45%
  • Bracket 5 – More than €37,870 – 50%

Health insurance in Belgium

Health insurance is required by law in Belgium. Without insurance, you’re not permitted to work. Different types of insurance are offered. The costs of insurance are fairly low, because part is paid from premiums from your salary. These, on the other hand, are usually high. It’s advisable also to take out a separate hospitalisation insurance. This covers the costs for hospital treatments or admissions.

Living in Belgium

It’s said that the way of life in Belgium is generally calmer. At the same time, living in Belgium is expensive compared to other countries. Housing prices vary greatly depending on the location. A major benefit is that the country is rather small. This means it’s possible to live in a village and work in a city.

Each Belgian region has different rules concerning housing. This means that things such as required items may differ. For example, a smoke detector in the house is required only in Flanders.

Culture and language in Belgium

The official languages of Belgium are Dutch, French and German. To say something generic about the Belgians is very difficult. Large differences exist between the regions Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. Flanders is the predominantly Dutch part of the country. The Flemish are known as a little more serious, quieter and calmer. Wallonia is the predominantly French part of Belgium, where people are more relaxed. Good food and drink are seen as important. Whenever the opportunity arises, optimum use is made of it. A sumptuous meal accompanied by one of the many famous Belgian beers.

The bilingual nature of the country is reflected in many things and causes friction between the areas. Originally, the official language of the country was French. The Flemish population increased, however, and over the course of the 20th century, Flemish increasingly got a foot in the door, with the government of the country as well. The law contains a literal language border, splitting the country in two. Road signs are required to be in Dutch in Flanders, in French in Wallonia and bilingual in Brussels. The people in Flanders mainly stay to live and work there. The same applies to the people in Wallonia.

Self-employed in Belgium

Are you self-employed, and are you coming to Belgium for an assignment? Or are you an employer, and are you giving an assignment to a freelancer in Belgium? In these two cases, you are required to report this by completing the so-called Limosa.

With Limosa, the Belgian government aims to get more control over the correct employment of foreign workers in Belgium. Registration is fairly easy and doesn’t take much time. If you don’t register with Limosa, you risk a fine of up to €24,000.

If you do live in Belgium and wish to start as a self-employed person, you must first be able to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the basics of business management. A diploma or other certificate is usually sufficient. The enterprise office where you apply for your company number decides whether you qualify.

If you want to be completely certain that everything is taken care of, without running the risk of fines, TCP can assist you in this and completely take care of it for you – for freelancers as well as companies working with freelancers. Another good option is to work with a payroll construction. TCP Solutions often works like that when deploying flexible workers in Belgium. Read more about our services in Belgium here.

Certainty with TCP Solutions

With all the above differences in mind, figuring out all the rules regarding work in Belgium can be a considerable task.

TCP Solutions has solutions for that. Are you a freelancer, an agency operating on the Belgian market, an employee or an employer? Then TCP Solutions can help you. With payrolling, contract management and our legal service, for example, we ensure your compliance with all specific national and regional laws and regulations. This is very important, because many people working abroad aren’t aware of the fact that their employment affairs are poorly arranged. This is almost impossible, because of the many different rules to comply with. However: if you don’t comply, both you and your employer can get a hefty fine. TCP Solutions fully knows the way in 12 countries and ensures you comply with all rules. We even guarantee that we will pay the fine should something not be in order. This way, we relieve you of a major concern.

Whether you’re self-employed or just want to work for a company, TCP Solutions can help you. Not only in Belgium, but in all other countries as well. We are an international HR specialist.

Do you wish to learn more? Please contact our team via the form below or call us on +44 (0) 208 5 800 800 or any of our local teams via Contacts.

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