Seeking a placement option in Belgium is not that easy. Much time, perseverance and initiative is required as placements are less common than in some other countries such as Germany. The capital Brussels is an exception, as the European Commission etc. offer a lot of possibilities.
There are three official languages in Belgium: Dutch; French; and German. Consequently, language requirements will change depending on your location. However, in some roles English alone may be sufficient.
Jobs available for student internships in Belgium can be found here:
- http://www.europe-internship.com/find-intern-placement-belgium/ [en]
- http://www.goabroad.com/intern-abroad/search/belgium/internships-abroad-1 [en]
- http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm [en]
Tips and Regulations for students who want to do an internship in Belgium:
- http://europa.eu/youth/working/working_holidays/index_be_de.html [en] [de] [nl] [fr]
- http://www.fulbright.be/ [en] [nl] [fr]
Internship and placement advice
There are many practical issues relating to international placements that need to be taken care of either by the trainee or the host company. It must be remembered to reserve enough time for all the arrangements and the necessary formalities. The training organisations, educational institutions and home and host organisations are able to help with the formalities.
Social security and European health insurance
Being an EU member, your health insurance also works in Belgium. Make sure you take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. However, foreign health insurance is also recommended, as well as accident insurance and liability insurance. Having health insurance is often obligatory for a visa application.
Most visits to Belgium are trouble-free. Belgium is relatively free of violent crime. As in all big cities, you will find low-level street crime such as muggings, bag snatching, and pick pocketing particularly in tourist areas. Visitors should pay attention to their personal belongings at major train stations, like Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (South Station).
The emergency phone number in Belgium with which you will reach fire, police and paramedics is 112.
Do I need a visa?
Depending on the country you are coming from, you might need to get a Visa before you can work in Belgium. For more information, please visit https://dofi.ibz.be.
With the exception of nationals of Iceland, Monaco, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, all non-EU member state nationals intending to exceed a 3 months stay in Belgium will need a visa (Schengen Type D). A foreigner coming to Belgium with the intention of working there needs a travel document (passport) with a validity of at least one year, a recent certificate of good conduct covering the last five years, a medical certificate by an Embassy-recognised physician and an employment authorisation. Once the visa is issued and the foreigner arrives in Belgium, he or she has to report to the municipal administration giving details of his or her place of destination in order to regularise the stay.
In order to be able to work in Belgium, foreign workers must have a valid work permit. This condition does not apply to nationals of one of the member states of the European Economic Area (i.e. EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), nor to certain categories of workers.
A distinction must be made between two types of work permits. A work permit ‘A’ covers all kinds of salaried employment and has an indefinite validity: only a limited number of applicants qualify for this type of permit (e.g. applicants having a work permit ‘B’ and working in Belgium for more than four years, applicants residing legally in Belgium for an uninterrupted period of at least five years, etc.). If the foreign worker has a work permit ‘A’, the employer does not have to apply for an employment authorization.
A work permit ‘B’ is only valid for employment by one employer and has a maximum validity of 12 months. Whenever an employer is issued with an employment authorization, the worker concerned is automatically eligible for a work permit ‘B’. The application has to be made by the Belgium-based employer.
Internship and placement salary
As internships are rather rare in Belgium, it is most likely that if you do find a placement, it will not be paid. Exceptions are placements within e.g. the European commission. These are mostly paid.
Internship and placement accommodation
If you are going to Belgium for a placement, you will need to find your own accommodation. In Brussels, rents can be quite high. In the more rural areas rents are much cheaper, but places are harder to find.