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Is it hard to get a work permit here?


Hello. I am a Canadian who works in the education sector. i have had many interviews and employers are ready to hire me on the spot until they find out I need a work permit (I do supply this info in both my cover letter and CV but it consistently gets overlooked). I have very good qualifications and experience and other people seem to get work permits so I can't really understand what the issue is. Is the process extremely long, convoluted or expensive? Is this something the employer must apply for or can I do this on my own? Any relevant advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


I believe the usual route is for the employer to apply, though I really don't know. There is a ton of info out there though.

Jan 21, 2017 10:11

The employer has to apply and, in broad terms at least, a permit is only granted if it is impossible to recruit a Belgian or someone from another EU state. There are specialist employment sectors where a permit is granted automatically but clearly you don't fit this category or you wouldn't be having a problem.

Jan 21, 2017 14:34

As others have said, it's up to the employer to apply on your behalf.

Jan 21, 2017 16:15

Yes, a potential employer will need to file a work permit B hat requires a min salary of 40K/year (for 2016). Alternately as a student (find out about this) you even may qualify for work permit C(with no min salary, except of cource min wage) which is something that you can apply for you. Coming back to WP B, its neither expensive nor time consuming, nor requires a lot of paperwork but something about filing for it scares off potential employers and they need to be convinced that its not a big deal.

Jan 21, 2017 19:51

I know there are Canadian and American teachers who teach at the International schools here in Brussels so maybe those schools would be of interest to get work at...... if you really want to work in Belgium I say go for it.......but just know that there will be more than a few bureaucratic hoops to jumps through along the way...... good luck!

Jan 22, 2017 02:24

Just confirming what crisscross notes above. "its neither expensive nor time consuming, nor requires a lot of paperwork"

As an employer, I have actually applied for work permits for a number of people over the years. It's just a couple of forms to fill in. It is actually an extremely simple administrative process. The people I've hired have been Americans or in a couple of cases from non EU European countries. And these have been for relatively low level admin jobs (certainly less than the 40k mentioned above). We just said that mother tongue english was essential for the job. Probably applied for or renewed 1 application per year over 15 years. Never once was contested or declined a permit.

I suspect that many employers are put off by the thought of a long and complicated process. If they haven't done it before, or don't know the process, they are unlikely to try.

Jan 22, 2017 10:00

Thanks everyone! Greatly appreciated!

Jan 22, 2017 12:19

The above poster is correct about the international school, the MS in ISB has a large number of Canadians working there the head likes the way they are trained. I suppose it depends what you mean by education sector adults, preschool, high school. I think it's just a case of keep going.
I guess the only way round it is live in French speaking commune and apply to become a Belgian!

Jan 29, 2017 12:25

Ps the head of the ID. MS is Doctor Crowley if you want to work in a school definitely worth a letter to him with your credentials if it's appropriate

Jan 29, 2017 12:26