Economic migration and free movement

The information on this page is not entirely up to date. We're working on an update.

Since 1 July 2014, according to the 6th state reform, regions are the main force behind economic migration policy. They oversee the regulation, implementation process, evaluation, and issuing of type A and B work permits in addition to business cards.

Which responsibilities remain federal? Everything concerning residence for working migrants is in the hands of the federal authorities. They are also responsible for work permit regulation around certain residential circumstances (this mostly concerns type C work permits).

Work Permits for Third Country Nationals

Third country nationals seeking salaried professions in Belgium must request a work permit:  

  • The Type A Work Permit lasts an unlimited time and is valid for all salaried jobs. A type A permit can only be obtained after having worked for several years with a type B permit.
  • The Type B Work Permit lasts a maximum of 12 months and is only valid for a specific employer. Employers may hire the worker before they arrive in Belgium. In this circumstance, the right to work facilitates the right to residence.
  • The Type C Work Permit is valid for a maximum of 12 months and is not limited to a specific employer. Requests are to be made in Belgium. In the case of this work permit, the right to residence (for example as an asylum seeker) facilitates the right to work.