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Working abroad

For many, a good job abroad is a dream and the secret lies in preparing well. There are three questions to answer: are there jobs? Are these jobs paid sufficiently? What about other employment conditions, such as the length of the working week, the number of holidays, social security cover?

EURES: information and advice about working in another European country

If you want answers to the above questions, take a look at EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal. EURES provides information, advice and services in the field of recruitment and employment mediation to applicants and employers. There also are many vacancies, practical tips and tools to be found on the portal.

Tip: Questions about foreign labour market and practical, legal and administrative aspects? Make use of the extensive EURES network, consisting of over 900 EURES consultants. You can easily chat or e-mail a consultant.

Tip: Create a European curriculum vitae on the Europass website. This way you can clearly and easily explain your skills and qualifications throughout Europe.

Work permit

As a Belgian citizen, you are allowed to work in another European country without a work permit. If you work somewhere, you also have the right to live there under certain conditions. Moreover, you (and your family) are entitled to the same treatment as nationals of that country.

Please note: living and/or working in another country has consequences in following fields:

  • healthcare
  • social benefits
  • retirement
  • taxes

Expatriation? Secondment? Local contract?

Whether you and your employer opt for a secondment or expatriation or for a local employment contract abroad depends on a number of factors. If your Belgian employer sends you to another EEA country for a temporary assignment, you are a "seconded employee". During a secondment, the employment relationship with the employer remains in place so that you no longer have to complete any additional formalities upon your return. Moreover, you remain subject to the social security system of Belgium and exempt from social security in the country of temporary employment.

During a secondment to another EU country:

  • You do not need a work permit
  • Your professional qualifications do not need to be recognised, but for some professions you do need to make a written declaration
  • When you retire, you only have to deal with Belgian pension institutions, not with those of your host country
  • You do not have to pay income tax in your host country if you are seconded for less than six months
    • There aren’t any EU-wide rules for paying income tax during a foreign secondment. National legislation and tax treaties apply.

  • You will still be subject to the Belgian social security system for a maximum of 2 years. Find out what formalities you have to complete in order to do this.

Tip: Be sure to read the frequently asked questions on the website of the European Commission. You can also get more information about social security during a secondment from RSZ via ContactRSZMigr@rsz.fgov.be.

For long-term foreign assignments it is often easier to work on a local employment contract. Please note: in case of local employment abroad, only the local national wage and working conditions are applicable! You are subject to the social security system of that country and consequently you will also have to pay your social contributions there from now on.

Tip: Not sure about social security? Use the simple and easy-to-use platform of the RSZ.

Transborder employees

If you work in another EEA country, but return to your Belgian home daily or at least once a week, you are a transborder employee (frontier worker) according to EU legislation. In daily life, the rules of both countries apply. Your country of employment is responsible for social security, but special rules apply to health care and unemployment benefits.

Tip: Use the simple and easy-to-use platform of the RSZ to check on special rules.

Tip: Transborder employee in the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Germany? Visit the Starting point website for a clear overview of important topics.

Officials abroad

You are a civil servant abroad if:

  • You are a Belgian civil servant and are seconded to another country (to an embassy, consulate or other official government institution abroad)
  • You works as a civil servant in a country other than the one of which you are permanently resident

If you are seconded as a civil servant to another EU country and work for an embassy, consulate or other official institution, you remain covered by Belgian health insurance. Moreover, all other benefits are still determined by Belgian law.

If you work for a local government agency in your host country, you are a not considered a seconded government employee.

Finding a job: vacancies

Finding a job starts with finding the right vacancy. On the following websites you may find your dream job:

Onze eigen databank staat vol internationale vacatures. Gebruik filters om een bepaald land te vinden en vind zo snel de juiste job.

Did you know that VDAB also has international jobs postings? The website has an overview of European jobsites where you can find a wealth of international jobs. You will also find a lot of useful and practical information.

EURES is the European Job Mobility Portal. Besides detailed information about living and working in European countries, you will also find vacancies. After registration, you can also upload your CV.

Every European country has a national employment service, such as VDAB. Most of their websites have vacancies.

  • European jobsites

Also take a look at the numerous private jobsites, that are manyfold. Use the right search terms in Google and make your way through the large selection.

Tip: Have your diploma recognised internationally if necessary. Diplomas are not automatically recognised in all European countries. If you want your Flemish diploma recognised abroad, please contact the NARIC centre of that country.

Tip: If your profession is officially regulated in the country where you want to start working, you must also have your professional qualifications recognised. A profession is regulated if you need a special diploma, have to take a certain examination and/or you have to register with a professional organisation before you can practice this profession. Check the European database to see whether your profession is regulated. Contact the national contact point for the recognition of professional qualifications.