Labour market in Belgium

Belgium cityscape
Updated 2021-12-17 14:09

If you wish to move to Belgium and find a job there, then you'll want to know about the labor market. We'll help you familiarize yourself with it by giving you some important information below.

Belgian labour market: Key data

Many European Union citizens and others choose to expatriate to Belgium for economic reasons. But local authorities deal with these two types of citizens differently. Therefore, it's better to know what to expect before moving to Belgium. For instance, the unemployment rate in Belgium at the beginning of 2021 was 6.5%. It rose a little past 6.5% but has since dropped under, with it being 6.0% as of August 2021.

If you're a foreigner wishing to work in Belgium, you might need a work permit. According to official data from the Federal Public Service, Employment, Labour, and Social Dialogue, 64,600 work permits (all job categories involved) were delivered in 2012. This amount is increasing each year.

The level of employment among immigrants from the European Union who recently came to Belgium was 68.1% in 2015. For citizens outside the EU, it was 36.7% that same year. In total, 55.1% of the immigrant people between 20 and 64 years old were employed within the same year they arrived in Belgium.

Access to the Belgian labour market

If you're not a citizen of the European Union member states, you don't automatically hold the right to work in Belgium. If you were offered a position, your employer needs to ask local authorities the authorization to hire you. Belgium's laws regarding immigration are serious, especially since it was hit by the economic recession.

If you're a citizen from one of the European Union member states, you're allowed to work freely in Belgium, thanks to freedom of movement among the EU states. The only requirement is for you to register at communal services in the town you live in in order to get a residence permit.

Sectors requiring workforce in Belgium

Belgium was hit pretty hard by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. In Q2 of 2020, the country's economy contracted by 12.1%. It's projected that the economy won't recover for around two years.

However, as the world's starting to recover from the pandemic, so is Belgium. Some of the sectors that look promising for work include health, education, public services, social services, and transport and logistics. On the other hand, if you're looking for a job in the restaurant and hotel sectors, you'll have tough luck finding permanent positions. There have been more temporary positions than permanent ones in the wake of the pandemic.

Work contracts in Belgium

In Belgium, every employer has to provide a contract to foreign workers. This contract might be required by the appropriate authorities to get a residence permit.

Belgian companies can propose three different contracts:

  • Temporary contract
  • Permanent contract
  • Temporary and substitution contract

Work contracts might be written in Dutch. Don't hesitate to ask for a translated copy from the company.

Wages in Belgium

Wages in Belgium are negotiated between companies or an industry sector and trade unions. The amount of taxes you pay depends on your family composition. You'll pay 13.07% of your wages to cover social taxes, while your employer pays around 27%. Both you and your employer will also each pay 6.2% of wages toward Social Security.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.