Before being able to take-up employment in Belgium (in general) and in the Leuven/Flemish region (in particular) several ‘legal’ formalities are to be checked, such as in the field of immigration, employment law, social security, income tax, …
- Finding a job in Belgium: on various websites information can be found about job offers. On the website of the VDAB (public employment service of Flanders), ACTIRIS (public employment service for the Brussels-Capital Region), Le FOREM (public employment service for the Walloon Region) a lot of job offers and vacancies are published. Other important job sites are also available (interim offices, government, such as Jobat, Monster, Vacature.com, Stepstone,).
- Immigration requirements are to be checked: as non-EEA partner (whether as spouse or as legal cohabitant) in general a work permit needs to be applied for. A very specific ‘privileged’ work permit B category exists for non-EEA partners of non-EEA nationals who already work in Belgium. In principle the residence permit remains linked to family reunification. EEA partners can work without work permit.
- Employment law/Employment agreement: although in principle no written employment agreement is needed, except for specific agreements (eg. part time employment agreement, an agreement for defined duration or a specific task, trainee agreements, or clauses (such as a non- compete clause) 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. Income will have to be reported in a Belgian income tax return. For married persons or persons legally cohabiting, a joint tax return needs to be filed.
- 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.
- When you have the non-EEA nationality as spouse (or legal cohabitant) of a Belgian or other European national you do not need a work permit. You should be in possession of your residence permit type F.
- Some other work permit exemptions also exist (i.e. for unrestricted residence permit holders, partners whose residence permit application based on family reunification with an European national is still in progress, …) In case of doubt it is worthwhile to check this upfront.
Suppliers, channels and tools
- Federal Immigration Office : https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/index.html
- Stadskantoor (City Office) of Leuven : https://www.leuven.be/english
- Looking for a job in Flanders : https://www.vdab.be/english
- Workinflanders: http://www.workinflanders.be
- Work permits : https://www.werk.be/en/information-services/work-permits
Partner of internationals (EEA employees or non-EEA employees), residing in Belgium and wanting to take up employment in Belgium (Leuven region).