Your 'status' determines whether you can work as a working student. Below is an overview of the conditions you need to fulfil to be able to work and a list of categories of student who may NOT work. Are you a foreigner? Then your nationality, the period of employment and the number of working hours also play a role.

Information for international students

Depending on their nationality, some international students will be required to prove their right to work to an employer and will have to adhere to certain guidelines like the period of employment and the amount of working hours. Students from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will receive a residence permit (an electronic foreigner card type ‘A’) containing the statement stipulating their admission to work. The statement will be automatically put on the residence permit. Because student employment has to be compatible with studying  International students from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) may only work up to 20 hours a week. The social inspectorate may check this. The permission to work is valid throughout Belgium and can be used for any paid employment in any region of the country.There is an exemption for student employment during the school holidays. Non EEA students 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'.

Non EEA-students can no longer apply for a work permit C. If you applied for a work permit C before 1 January 2020, you will still receive it. If you still have a valid work permit C, you may continue to use it until its expiry date. As soon as you renew your temporary residence permit, the new card will mention your limited access to employment (“toegang arbeid: beperkt”).

As a recognised refugee or a subsidiary protected person, you are allowed to work as an employee, even with a temporary residence permit. Admission to employment automatically results from your specific residence situation. As soon as you renew your temporary residence permit, the new card will mention your unlimited access to employment (“toegang arbeid: onbeperkt”).

EEA students and students from Switzerland are allowed to work without these formalities. 

Who can work as a working student?

All students can be employed as working students provided their student status is their primary status.

Fulfilling the study conditions necessary to receive a family allowance as a student counts a positive 'check' criterion.

Receiving a supplementary income that you are only entitled to because you have a different primary status (i.e. unemployed, ill and so on) is a negative criterion.

The type of contract (degree, credit or exam contract) and the number of study credits are not taken into account.

There are no age conditions. Individuals who choose to return to university may also be employed as working students provided they have no status of their own in the Social Security system, e.g. as employee, self-employed or unemployed.

Who cannot work as a working student?

Students who have a different primary status.

These include:

  • Employees who are students. This also applies to employees on leave without pay, on a career break and so on.
  • Jobseekers who are entitled to jobseeker's allowance
  • individuals on a subsistence allowance who decide to return to university. Individuals on a subsistence allowance studying as part of a personalised project for social integration may work, however
  • Students who have been working continuously for the same employer under one or more agreements for over a year. When several consecutive agreements are entered into, with a brief pause between two agreements, this is also considered to be continuous employment. However, a student employment agreement may be signed with another employer immediately after this 12-month period.
  • School leavers who have registered with the Flemish Public Employment and Vocational Training Service (VDAB). However, students whose waiting period commences on 1 August may work during the months of July, August and September.
  • Students doing unpaid internships which are part of their study programmes cannot sign a student employment contract for this internship. Outside of their internship, they can work as students provided they do not have another primary status.
  • Doctoral students with a scholarship
  • Honorary doctoral student ( without a scholarship or wager) cannot work at the University of Antwerp as a student. 
  • Doctoral students who are employed
  • Post-doctoral researchers
  • Students without legal residence
  • Students undergoing an asylum procedure, awaiting asylum