Depending on their nationality, some international students will be required to prove that they have a work permit (type C) and will have to adhere to certain guidelines like the period of employment and the amount of working hours. However, working permit C will be abolished in the near future. Citizens from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are in Belgium for reasons other than work, will receive a residence permit containing the statement stipulating their admission to work ('single permit'). The statement will be automatically put on the residence permit. The new combined permit (‘single permit’) is an electronic residence permit which will allow holders to work and stay in the country. The single permit procedure will start later this year. When the exact date is set more information will be provided regarding the procedure. For now the current work permit is still in use and will only be replaced when it expires. Below you can find more information about the current procedure of the working permit C.
Which nationality does the student have?
- Students from the European Economic Area, or Switzerland?
Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) can be employed in Belgium without additional formalities.
The EEA consists of 28 European Union Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Students from Switzerland do not require a work permit to work in Belgium.
- What about students from other countries ?
(Depending on the period in which they wish to work) international students from these countries require a work permit (type C) to be employed.
The student has to have legal residence in Belgium and to have enrolled in a Belgian educational establishment on a full study plan. This means that they have to have enrolled on a full-time programme. In addition to this, the student also has to supply proof of registration in the Register of Foreign Nationals.
. What about refugee students ?
Do you want to combine working and studying? That is possible, but you may need a work permit first. If you receive subsidiary protection, you will usually have an electronic residence card for foreigners (type ‘A’) that is valid for one or two years and is renewable. This card allows you to work, but you will also need to have a work permit (type ‘C’). Five years after filing your asylum application, you will receive unlimited right to residence (electronic foreigner card type ‘B’). Then you will no longer need a separate work permit in order to work.
As a recognised refugee you are already exempt from a work permit, even if you don’t yet have unlimited right to residence. You receive an electronic foreigner card (type ‘A’) valid for five years. Five years after filing your asylum application, you will receive unlimited right to residence (electronic foreigner card type ‘B’). The exemption from a separate work permit applies in both cases – A and B.
Which period of the year does the student wish to work in?
- Student employment during the academic year
During the academic year the student requires a work permit (type C). The student can apply for this permit after he/she has received his/her residence permit. The student can only commence employment after having obtained the work permit.
Because student employment has to be compatible with studying, international students may only work up to 20 hours a week and not during their courses. The social inspectorate may check this.
- Student employment during the school holidays
No work permit is required for student employment during the school holidays. The student has to have legal residence in Belgium, however, and to have enrolled in an educational establishment on a full study plan. The residence permit must already have been granted. He/she can then work more than 20 hours a week.
Students arriving in Belgium during the summer holidays (or just before it starts) with the aim of commencing studies in the new academic year may not work during this summer holiday.This is because they do not meet the legal requirement of 'having enrolled in a higher education establishment during the previous academic year'.
How do you apply for a type C work permit?
The student has to apply for a type C work permit. The student may only start to work after the work permit has been issued!
The application consists of:
- a request for a type C work permit
- an information document
- a copy of their current residence permit
- a copy of the student card
- an excerpt from the Registry of Foreign Nationals or the waiting list, listing the student's residence history.
The first two documents can be obtained from the Office for Student Affairs or downloaded from www.werk.be/en/home. The student must fill out the first form him- or herself. The student must then go to the town hall (foreigners department Loket Vreemdelingenzaken, Maurice Dequeeckerplein 1, 2100 Deurne), where the 'information document' will be filled out for him or her and the required excerpt from the Registry of Foreign Nationals or waiting list will be provided.
The student makes a photocopy of his or her residence permit and student card and sends the duly completed application (with all supporting documents) to:
Dienst Economische Migratie Provincie Antwerpen
Lange Kievitstraat 111-113 bus 21
Tel.: 03/ 224 95 05
Fax: 03/ 224 95 00
A few weeks later, the student should be notified that he or she can pick up the card.
At the start of their employment, foreign students must provide their employer with a copy of their ID card (and work permit, if applicable).