Formalities Related to Working in Belgium

Before being able to take-up employment in Leuven (or Belgium in general) several formalities are to be checked, such as in the field of immigration, employment law, social security, income tax, …

International House Leuven
17 January 2024

Things to consider

  • Do you need a permit? Immigration requirements are to be checked individually but in general these rules of thumb apply:
    • as non-EEA spouse or legal cohabitant of a non-EEA employee usually a work authorisation exemption is applicable (since January 2019). This will be indicated on the back of the Belgian e-ID card. It should say "arbeidsmarkt: onbeperkt", which means unrestricted access to the labour market
    • the main exception to this: non-EEA partners of non-EEA students still need a work authorisation
    • EEA partners are also always exempted from work authorisation. You should be in possession of your residence permit type F (it indicates the unrestricted access to the labour market).
    • EEA nationals and spouses or legal cohabitants of EEA nationals are also exempt from work authorisation
  • Employment law/Employment agreement: although in principle no written employment agreement is needed, except for specific agreements it is of course always recommended to enter into a written employment contract with the employer. Employment agreements with an employer in the Flemish region should be drafted in Dutch. In "international cases" also an employment agreement in a foreign language (next to a Dutch version) is considered valid. Next to the legal provisions and what has been agreed in the employment agreement, working conditions are also ruled by the provisions in, among others, collective bargaining agreements and the work regulations of the employer.
    • Entering into an employment agreement with a Belgian employer for an activity to be performed in Belgium means that you will be subject to the Belgian social security scheme for employees in Belgium. No specific action is required from your side in this respect. Social security contributions will be deducted automatically from your salary.
  • Income tax: no specific actions (registrations) are required from your side towards the Belgian tax authorities. In Belgium a separate tax number does not exist. Income will have to be reported in a Belgian income tax return. Every person over 18 will have to complete the yearly tax declaration form, even if there is no income. For married persons or persons legally cohabiting, a joint tax return needs to be filed.
  • Finding a job in Belgium: besides commercial job websites, such as Indeed, Jobat, Monster,, Stepstone,... the official government job website are organised by region
    • the public employment service of Flanders or VDAB
    • the public employment service for the Brussels-Capital Region or ACTIRIS
    • the public employment service for the Walloon Region or le FOREM

Important to know

  • Taking-up employment can have an important impact on the tax burden of your partner (in case of married taxpayers or taxpayers legally cohabiting). Indeed, in case of a non-working partner part of the income of the working partner is, for tax purposes, attributed to the non-working partner and consequently taxed at lower tax rates (= application of the so-called ‘marital quotient’). In case the partner takes up employment, the marital quotient may no longer (or only partially) be applied, therefore increasing the tax burden.
  • Every region in Belgium has the right to organise the access to its labor market, so the rules and regulations may well be different in the Brussels-Capital Region or Wallonia.

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This page was last updated on: 14 March 2024