Where should your employer apply for your work permit

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Work permit A

A work permit A must be applied for by the entitled foreigner himself by means of the model forms that have specially been created for that purpose by the regional employment services i.e.: VDAB in Flanders, BGDA/ORBEM in Brussels and FOREM in Wallonia. Applications must be submitted to the competent VDAB, ORBEM/BGDA or FOREM offices, covering the applicant's place of residence.

An inquiry leaflet is to be joined to the application forms of work permits for workers residing legally in Belgium. This leaflet can be obtained at the regional employment services and it has to be duly completed by the applicant and then returned bearing the visa of the burgomaster of the applicant's municipality of residence. The file is then transferred from the regional employment service to the migration service competent for that particular part of the national territory, which will further handle the file.

In the case of a foreign worker that is legally staying in Belgium, the work permit will be issued by the municipal administration of the worker's residence place. The work permit is issued directly to the worker.

In the case of a negative answer, the applicant will be informed by means of a registered letter. He can thereupon, within one month following the day of receipt of the refusal, submit a motivated appeal to the competent regional Minister.

Employment authorisation and work permit B 

Any Belgium-based employer wishing to put to work a foreign worker must apply for an employment authorisation and a work permit B by means of a model form elaborated for that purpose by the regional employment services, i.e.: VDAB in Flanders, ACTIRIS in Brussels and FOREM in Wallonia. 

The application must be submitted to the

To the application forms must be joined:

  • a medical certificate if the worker does not reside legally in this country or if the worker resides less than two years in this country and if he is employed here for the first time;
  • an inquiry leaflet if the work permit is applied for on behalf of a worker residing legally in Belgium;
  • an employment agreement.

The regional employment service will thereupon transfer the file to the immigration service covering the part of the national territory where the application is to be submitted.

An employment authorisation is issued only when, given vocational training or not, there are not enough qualified workers in the Belgian labour market to occupy the employment in a satisfactory way within a reasonable lapse of time.

After approval by the competent migration service the employment authorisation is issued to the employer. The foreign worker that is residing legally in this is thereupon entitled to collect his/her work permit at the municipality of residence. If the worker does not reside or not legally reside in this country, the work permit is issued to the employer through the municipality of the employers' residence place or of the employer’s Belgian head office. The employer will then have to hand the work permit to the foreign worker.

The employer is informed on the refusal of an employment authorisation by means of a registered letter. He can thereupon, within one month following the receipt of the refusal, submit a motivated appeal to the competent regional Minister.

Renewal of an employment authorisation or of a work permit B

A renewal application of an employment authorisation or of a work permit, in view of a further occupation of the same worker at the same employment by the same or another employer, has to be submitted by the employer one month before the expiration of the validity of the running employment authorisation and work permit B.

The foreign worker is not bound to stick to the same employment for which the first work permit was issued, providing he attends or has attended a vocational training or updating training scheme in a training centre recognised by the VDAB, "Bruxelles Formation" or FOREM or by the National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance.

Regulatory texts

  • Law of April 30, 1999 on the employment of foreign workers (Moniteur belge of May 21, 1999)
  • Royal Decree of June 9, 1999 implementing the law of April 30, 1999 on the employment of foreign workers (Moniteur belge of June 26, 1999).

Additional information

On access, residence and settlement of aliens in Belgium:

  • Ministry of Interior Affairs (Home Department)
    Aliens' Office
    Antwerpsesteenweg 59B, 1000 Brussels
    Tel.: 02 206 13 00, fax: 02 206 14 55
    Internet: www.ibz.fgov.be and www.dofi.fgov.be

On the conditions for eligibility and visa obligations for aliens:

On employment authorisations and work permits A, B and C:

  • Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region
    Economy and Employment Administration
    Vooruitgangstraat 80 (bus 1), 1035 Brussels
    Tel.: 02 204 13 99, fax: 02 204 15 28
    Internet: www.brussel.irisnet.be
  • Ministry of the Walloon Region
    Employment and Migration Direction
    Place de la Wallonie 1, 5100 Namur
    Tel.: 081 33 31 11, fax: 081 33 43 22
    Internet: www.emploi.wallonie.be/en/home.html
  • Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap
    Vlaams Subsidieagentschap voor Werken en Sociale Economie
    Koning Albert II-laan 35, bus 21, 1030 Brussel
    Tel.: 02 553 43 92, fax: 02 553 44 22
    Internet: www.vlaanderen.be/werk
  • Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft
    Abteilung, Beschäftigung, Gesundheit und Soziales
    Gospertstrasse 1, 4700 Eupen
    Tel.: 087 59 64 86, fax: 087 55 64 73
    Internet: www.dglive.be