Belgium

Why Belgium Could Be A Good Choice For Immigration

Belgium a beautiful, small, clean country with marvelous architecture in the northwestern Europe. Surrounded by France, The Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourgh. This is one of the smallest and highly populated countries, famous for Waffles, beer, medieval towns, Renaissance architecture and hosts the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Belgium is also well known for the Manneken Pis, Flower Carpet, Automium and its chocolates. Brussels is the capital city of this country. This is historical and a major city of this country. This nation has plenty of creative minds, thousands of castles and lit highways. The main city Antwerp is the capital of the whole European Continent and second largest town. Antwerp is also famous as the diamond capital of the world as in its centre, there are centuries old diamond district houses, thousand of diamond traders, diamond cutters and polishers. It’s one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Exploring the city by cycle is a better option, excepting by cabs or metro. Belgium is one of the richest countries in the world and has one of the highest GDP per capita. This country is also the founding member of World Bank, NATO, WTO, OECD and Eurozone. 

Belgium is one of the richest countries in the world and has one of the highest GDP per person. This is one of the best countries to live as it gives better health care, one of the best educations, very high standard of living and a quality life for locals as well as foreigners. This land is well known for its football team called Belgian Red Devils, another reason for jobs increase in tourism sector. It is a good place to stay and work compared to the other European countries like Poland, Austria and Ukraine. This is a developed country with high income, low tax rate, stunning architecture, good economy and low crime rates. This country has good job opportunities also for expats with high salaries compared to the other European Countries and lesser rate of unemployment. The major ration of population is experiencing a high material standard of living. You can get job in the teaching field or in the hospitality and tourism sector, as English is high in demand here. Also people come here to experience the marvelous architecture and for tasty cuisines, therefore you can see many job opportunities.

Traveling information:

Belgium borders are open for visitors, travelers, vacationers, etc., however it is required to take high degree of caution. Regulation regarding Covid-19 has been eased in Belgium. Face masks are mandatory only in the hospitals or healthcare facility providing centers.  Non-essential travel from outside the European Union, ban is lifted by the Belgium authorities. Now there is no need to fill the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) or showing the vaccination certificate or Covid-19 Negative test report. Also the quarantine requirement after arriving in Belgium has been removed. There are restrictions on the individuals coming from the high risk country.  Entry and exit conditions can be changed according to the situation at a short notice, at that time contact the nearest Belgium consulate or embassy for more details. Travelers must ensure that they have proper travel health insurance. Public transports are operating inside Belgium. The only suggestion is that individuals should take precaution like to use face mask and sanitizers to avoid any emergencies later. 

Passport: This must be issued less than ten years before. This must be valid for at least three months from the day you leave your native country. Contact embassy or consulate of Belgium if you think your passport doesn’t meet both the requirements. Renew if it is needed. 

Visa: Belgium is a Schengen country. You can travel in the Schengen area for three months in any 180 day period without visa (also depends on the nationality). This is for those who want to travel as tourist or want to visit family or friends, attend business meetings, cultural or sports events or for short term studies or training in this country. Get a visa before you travel to Belgium if you are not from European Union or Schengen area member country. Always carry your passport when you cross the borders even within the Schengen Area.

If you are traveling without a visa, make sure the visit is for 90 days only. To stay longer for work or study or other reasons, you must fulfill the Belgium government’s entry requirements. Contact the embassy or consulate to know what type of visa is required for your purpose of entering the country. 

For more travel advice please visit:  smartraveller.gov.au and schengenvisainfo.com

How to Immigrate:

Belgium is an attractive destination as a result many expats choose this place to live and work. This nation is a founder member of the European Union and the Schengen area, which gives numerous benefits to its citizens. Residence permit you can get in this country and for stays upto 90 days, visa is must.

Visa: A third country citizen must apply for one of several types of in order to visit this country even for short term period for 90 days. 

The types of visas are mentioned below:

  • Long term type D visa: Stay up to 90 days in Belgium.
  • Short stay national Type C visa: Stay upto 90 days in Belgiun overseas territories.
  • Type A airport transit visa: Airport transit visa.

Residence permit: This permit can be challenging to acquire, however with proper and full documents you can get the residence permit. It is suggested that apply for preliminary evaluation procedure at the law office or immigration center. You can apply for the following residence permit types: 

Stay Document: This document is a residence permit for immigrants who are under long stay visa and planning to stay for a longer period. 

To get these documents, applicant must comply with the following criteria:

  1. Validate visa which will serve as a residence permit or
  2. Apply for the residence permit in the first three months of stay in this country.

There are two types of stay document: Residency cards and Residency permit.

 Documents required:

  • Valid Passport
  • Visa
  • Residency permit

For more information please visit: immigration-residency.eu  

People:

Belgians are the native people of Belgium. This is a multinational state; the connection is legal, historical, residential and cultural than ethnic. Majority of these people are either of French ethnic group or Dutch ethnicity in this nation. These people are native to the country and its historical regions, Flemings in Flanders (Dutch speaking) and Walloons in Wallonia (French Speaking). More than eighty percent population follows Christianity, of which more than seventy percent are Roman Catholics and approx ten percent are Protestants. Rest of the population follows Islam, Other religion or no religion in this country. Ethnic groups are Russians, Italians, Turks, Albanis, Yugoslavs, Spanish, Portuguese and others. Literacy rate here is approx 95%. People are friendly, tolerant, hardworking, disciplined and efficient. They often spend their time thinking quite practically about how to solve a problem. They are hospitable, warm and humorous. These people are food lovers at the same time they keep themselves fit and healthy. These people are known for beer, waffle, bread and sausages, culture, cars and their love for technology. 

For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org

Job offers:

This nation has a large service sector as many locals and foreigners work in Hospitality and tourism, banking, law and media and retail sector. A massive part of the available jobs are for highly skilled individuals who want to serve at the service sector, perfect for graduates. You can work in this country while staying here of become a cross border worker. Other people can only start working in after getting the work visa. Work permit is must. There are various companies where well qualified staff is required all year long.

Documents needed for work visa are passport, work permit (before applying for a work visa you must employed in this country), medical certificate, accommodation proof, financial statement, police clearance report (that you don’t have any criminal record).

The work visa requires applicants to get a valid employment agreement with a Belgian Company. If you have skills in other profession, there are also many opportunities in other fields as well. Learning the local language French and German will help you to get there. Jobs in this country will also help you to expand your network and develop your skills. Getting job in this country can be tough as there is so much competition and people are highly qualified. But it is not impossible to get one, the only thing to keep in mind is to be persistent, be polite and make international contacts as much as possible. 

How to get a job offer: 

  • Search online
  • Apply after finding a suitable company
  • Give interview online
  • Apply for a visa
  • Sign a contract offered by the School or Company
  • Submit your documents in order to get a job
  • At last get a health insurance

For more information please visit: workingtraveller.com

Unemployment rate:

According to a survey report, Belgium’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% in the year 2022 from previous month July in 2022 which was approximately 5.9%. The number fell down 0.1% from last month. This rate shows unemployed persons among the number of employees available in the market. The jobless rate is updated monthly. Belgium has a good economy after the pandemic, but even after a healthy economy unemployment occurs. The unemployment touched the lowest point in this nation was 5.1% in March 2020. The rate is as high because of the job losses in commerce, distribution, tourism and several other sectors, same as the absence of a system of unemployment benefits, like many other countries. Inflation increased, shown in higher food, health, medicines and housing prices. This unemployment rate is increased since the pandemic has started in the year 2020 as the unemployed population lost their jobs and the number of unemployed increased. 

For more information please visit: ceicdata.com

Economy:  

Despite small area size and limited resources this country has become highly industrialized and prosperous. The economy of Belgium is standing on the country’s central geographic location, high-tech transport network and diverse industrial and commercial base. Economy of this country is a modern and capitalized economy. This is a developed country with an advanced high income economy. It has developed an excellent transportation infrastructure of canals, ports, highways and railway routes, to connect with the neighboring countries. Major parts of the industries are in the region of Flanders in the northern section, around Brussels and in the Walloon cities, Liége and Charleroi with sillon industriel. This country imports raw materials and semi finished goods that are further processes and re-exported. Belgium has coal, and few natural resources other than its fertile soil. Its most traditional industrial sectors are steel, textiles, refining, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics and machinery, fabrication. Belgium is benefited from natural resources of this country, highly literate population, banking and finance sector and diverse industrial base. Since past many years the economy is rising and this nation is considered as an upper middle income country. 

For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners:

Renting:

The process for renting in this country is different, depends on where you have come from. Also laws governing your rental agreement vary according to the type of rental contract and region where your apartment is located. Some of the tenant’s rights and obligations are same for everyone in Belgium. It is suggested, before you sign the rental agreement; take a look at below mentioned things:

  • Requirements to rent in this country.
  • Necessary steps you need to take to rent safely.
  • Your rental contract, rights and obligations.
  • Rent increase in this nation.
  • Where to report if you have problems with the owner.

You can search for an accommodation online or hire a broker. They will help you to find a reliable and comfortable accommodation. Both the furnished and unfurnished flats are available. Documents needed to rent a place may vary according to the owner and agency:

Documents: 

  • Passport
  • Current address
  • Residence permit or Visa
  • Work permit/Bank Statement
  • Belgian Bank account details

Buying:

Owning a property in Belgium for foreigners is possible and there are no restrictions to stop them from buying a property or getting a Belgian mortgage, even though they are non-resident. Once you identify a property for buying, make a formal offer but in writing, so that a real estate agent can assist you with that. Then make a contract and sign the copy which ties the buyer to the sale legally. A notary should be hired to take care of the legal deeds and to provide legal presentations. Most of the contracts are in French or Dutch, which means to hire an agent with translation skills, will be beneficial. Property prices may vary due to various aspects. For instance, the property is in the city centre or is in outskirts, its size, or in the middle of the country, etc. Apart from the house price you will also need to pay the agency/brokers fees, notary and lawyer’s fee, acquisition fee, registration fee and the title insurance, etc. It is necessary to get a residence permit while buying a property or land.

Documents

  • Passport
  • Tax ID
  • Promissory Agreement with the payment
  • Purchase or Sale Agreement
  • Mortgage papers

For more information please visit: housinganywhere.com and knightfrank.com

Climate:

Belgium has temperate maritime climate throughout the country. Summers are comfortable and cloudy and winters are long, very cold windy and cloudy. Rainfall can be experience almost whole year round. The temperature varies all year round from 1°C to 23°C and rarely goes below -5°C to 29°C. The best time of the year to visit this country is in the summer season.

Wet Season: This season lasts for 8.3 months, from mid May to the last week of January. Wettest month is December.

Dry Season: This season lasts for 3.7 months, starting form the last week of January to mid May. The month with the fewest wet days is April.

Summer lasts for three month here, starts from the month of June till mid September. The hottest month of the year is July. The average temperature is 22-13˚C.

Winter starts from mid November and lasts till the second week of March. The coldest month of the year is January. The average temperature during is 2˚C to 5.5˚C.

For more information please visit: weatherspark.com

Languages:

There are three official languages in Belgium French, German and Dutch. Also numerous minor languages are also spoken as well. Among the population of the Belgian population approx 60% native speaks Dutch often referred as Flemish and rest approx 40% speaks French. French speaking population are called Walloons. Belgian citizens are German language users. These languages also have different dialects. It also contains some similarities in vocabulary to some other languages like Netherland and France’s Dutch and French language respectively. German is one of the major languages in the world and most taught after English and French. Office work is mostly done in Dutch and French, so understanding and speaking the language is must in this country, for education and work also. People here speak and understand English and Italian too.

Other than German, Russian, Turkish, Portuguese and other languages are also used by the population. People here are bilingual or multilingual.

For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org

Traffic:

Belgium, a small country in the European Continent. Traffic runs from the right hand side of the road. There are cameras on the road so it is suggested to follow the rules. Seat belts are mandatory for the driver and the passenger both. There are penalties if a person is drunk and still driving. Roads are well maintained and if there is construction work going you can see the sign of diversion. Rush hours are 8 am to 10 am in the morning and 4 pm to 6 pm in the evening as students are on their way to school or university and other people are in hurry to reach at their work place. And this goes without saying, but avoiding busy hours in this country is the best bet for a comfortable ride on public transport. The best way to roam around the country is to take a train, bus, car, or by bicycle.  Also trams and metros are another affordable and relaxed means of transport in Belgium. Minimum age of driving is eighteen year. To drive in this documents you need to keep along are driving license, passport, vehicle registration papers and insurance papers. Traffic is considered safe here. There are two different rules here for traffic, such as speed limit should be less than 50 kmph (31mph) within cities and less than 90 kmph (50 mph) rural areas or outside the cities. Some autobahn have speed limit of less than 120 kmph (74 mph).

You will also come across the cyclists while driving. Riding a bicycle is very common and convenient in the country. Renting a bicycle is an affordable option.

For more information visit: roughguides.com

Currency:

Currency used in Belgium is Euro. Since the year 2002, this is the legal tender as the Belgian franc was the currency of this nation until the implementation of the Euros. The Belgian franc was subdivided into 100, called as centiemen in Dutch. The Euro is the official currency of nineteen member states of the European Union. This group is known as Eurozone or euro area. Euro is divided in 100 cents. Symbol used for this currency is Euro (€), (EUR) and cents (c). The currency is minted by the European Central Bank. A euro note comes in seven denominations like €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The paper bill of €200, €500 are rarely used but still legal and in circulation. And coins come in ten denominations €1, €2, 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c. Nowadays 1c, 2c are rarely used in Belgium but still in circulation. 

Payment Transaction:

In Belgium payments can be done through online banking, local card, global cards, buy now pay later, digital wallets, etc. Other methods used by the population are cash, cheque, debit/credit card depends on the situation and is a personal choice. As a home of the EU’s  headquarters,  it is no surprise that these people are open to accept all cross border things including shopping, with more than twenty five percent population buying from overseas website. Belgian market is one of the fragmented markets when it comes to the payment methods. There are various methods of payment used in this country. Payments can also be made in this country through Bank transfers or by digital wallet, especially in big cities like Brussels. You can use these payment options in major stores, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. Cash is the original and the oldest payment method, used by more than half of the population, so you’ll need some Euros on hand. Bancontact, Paypal and Maestro are one of the most used payment methods, these days used by the locals and foreigners. Cards can be used and accepted in this country. Visa is the most common and widely accepted card; however MasterCard and American Express are also available here. And so it is suggested to take along a card with you while traveling. Bank transfers are also used by most of the expats as well as locals. Apparently, it’s anytime you pay without physically handing over notes and coins. 

Payment Methods:

  • Cash
  • Credit Cards
  • Bank transfers
  • Digital Wallets
  • Online payment

For more information visit: adyen.com

Cost of living: 

According to a survey the cost of living in the Belgium is more expensive than the 68% of countries in the whole world and cost of living in this nation is cheaper than the 74% of countries in the Western Europe. Average living cost in Belgium depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Cost of living varies from city to city and also if you are staying alone or with your family. The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately €1,750. And the monthly expense will rise if you want to move along with your family of four persons, which will be €3,750. Food is cheap and if you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle, walking till your university or office or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower. Monthly rent will cost more in the urban areas or in the coastal areas than the cost of rent in rural areas. Expense will also rise if you need bigger accommodation, than the smaller one. 

Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living: 

Product

Quantity

Amount in Euro (€)

Whole Fat Milk

1 lit

1.50

Eggs

12 (a dozen)

4.20

Tomatoes

1 Kg (2 lb.)

2.80

Chicken

500 grams (1 lb)

4.30

Dining (Lunch)

Full meal

16.00

Fast food meal

Combo

8.00

Bread

2 loaf

2.00

Internet

8 mbps (1 month)

46.00

Cleaning help

Hourly

12.00

Gas in vehicle

1 lit

1.90

Doctor

Short visit

32.00

Movie Tickets

For 2

24.00

For more info visit: expatistan.com

Apartment Rent:

Brussels is the most expensive place to rent a residential property, followed by Antwerp, Leuven, Ghent, and Charleroi in this country. Also, cites on the coastal area have the expensive apartments. Prices of accommodation may vary according to individual’s choices. Apartments outside of the city of one, two or three BHK will cost you less than the amount you will be charged for the apartment in the city centre. Fully furnished one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you approx €900 and same apartment, outside city will cost approx €700. A furnished studio apartment of 2 to 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approx €1,150 and outside the city it will cost you approx €1,200. After visiting on the below given link you will get the ideas of the cost of monthly rent. You will find the apartments online or with the help of a local friend. Property showing websites also mentions prices below so that you can choose according to your need and comfort. Staying in cities like Ostend, Namur or Mons is much cheaper. Rent for downtown areas are higher, so sharing the apartment with someone will be affordable especially for a student. 

For more info please visit: expatistan.com  

Taxes:

If you are a foreigner and reside in Belgium for less than six months in a year, you only have to pay income tax on your income earned in this country, capital gains and rents are included. If you are a foreigner who lives in Belgium for at least six months in a year and is registered with the local commune, then you are considered as the resident of Belgium. A person is bound to pay taxes in Belgium is subjected whether that person is a resident or a non-resident. And even if he is a non-resident, how much taxation is imposed on that individual. In this country, taxes are collected on State and Local level. The important taxes are collected on federal level, like income tax, social security tax, corporate taxes and value added taxes. Property taxes and Communal taxes are collected on the local level. Taxes and laws are managed by the government through the Ministry of Finance. As of 2022 the tax rate bands are as 25% on income till €13,540, 40% till €23,900, 45% till €41,360 and 50% on income of €41,360. There is no transfer tax in Belgium. In case of Capital tax, there is only a fixed amount of €50. There are some environmental taxes accompanying mainly with energy usage. 

For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org

Health Insurance:

Health insurance in Belgium is partly funded by the social security amount and is mandatory for its residents to contribute a percentage of their healthcare costs. This country has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. It has gained near universal coverage. Approx 100% of its residents can get treatment through the public healthcare system. Moreover, to cover some more medical care, some citizens also take supplementary private insurance in Belgium. Expat pensioners can claim state Belgian healthcare through their home country. Take care of your entitlements, prior to moving to this country, as you should provide proves of health cover when applying for residency. For non-EU residents, this country has arrangements with other countries, outside Europe like Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, etc. This provides them the same healthcare access as Belgians. There is also a private health insurance. This insurance covers most of the African, European and Asian countries. It is good thing to have a health insurance in Belgium for all expats and citizens. It is divided in two sectors: public and private health insurance. However they have either public or private health insurance, covering hospital and other necessary medical treatment and pregnancy.

For more information visit: expatica.com

Important addresses :

Brussels International Airport:
Leopoldlaan,
1930 Zaventem,
Belgium

Brussels South Charleroi Airport:
Rue des Frères Wright 8.
6041 Charleroi,
Belgium
Ph: +32 78 15 27 22

Flanders International Airport Kortrijk-Courtrai:
Luchthavenstraat 1,
8560 Wevelgem,
Belgium
Ph: +32 56 36 20 45

Antwerp International Airport:
Luchthavenlei, 2100 Antwerpen,
Belgium
Ph: +32 3 285 65 00

Oostende-Brugge (Ostend-Bruges) International Airport:
Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 887,
8400 Oostende,
Belgium
Ph: +32 59 55 12 11

Elsene Etterbeek Bus Station:
1050 lxelles,
Belgium

Leuven Bus Station:
3000 Leuven, Belgium

Rumst Bus
2840 Rumst,
Belgium

Hoegaarden Bus Station:
3320 Hoegaarden,
Belgium

Embassy of India:
Chau. De Vleurgat 217,
1050 lxelles,
Belgium
Ph: +32 2 640 91 40

Embassy of the Swiss Confederation:
Pl. du Luxembourg 1,
1050 lxelles,
Belgium
Ph: +32 2 285 43 50

British Consulate:
Av. d’Auderghem 10,
1000 Bruxelles,
Belgium
Ph: +32 2 287 62 11

Embassy of Estonia:
Rue Guimard 11/13,
1040 Bruxxelles,
Belgium
Ph: +32 2 779 07 55

Summary:

Belgium is a small, populous, hence clean and beautiful country, famous for waffles, beer, medieval towns, and renaissance architecture. This country is one of the founder members of NATO, WTO and World Bank. It has favorable climate, marvelous architecture, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious delicacies and also well known for its chocolates. This place has high cost of living and you will experience a high quality life according to your lifestyle. This is a happy and welcoming nation with a good income. Liechtenstein is a small country in Central Europe made up of impressive mountains, trees and valleys. It’s one of the world’s wealthiest countries, and has been well-known for its neutrality. People are warm, friendly and peace loving. It has better job offers and good education system. English in high demand, so you can get jobs accordingly. It also costs you according to the lifestyle you choose to live. It is a task to find a good or high quality accommodation. Still it is worth living in this country. It is a good place to live and as we all know every good thing has a price.

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