Belgian companies are increasingly looking abroad to address talent shortages, where there is a vast pool of motivated candidates. International recruitment specialist encourage business leaders and HR managers to consider international talents, which provides access to a broader range of candidates. They emphasize the benefits of a diverse workforce, noting that it fosters creativity and offers different perspectives.
In 2022, foreign workers made up 15.8% of the workforce in Belgium, an increase of 25% over five years. This rise is attributed to measures taken by authorities to simplify the process of obtaining work and residence permits.
The introduction of hybrid working conditions in recent years has expanded the recruitment scope in Belgium, as the location of residence is no longer a barrier.
Belgium offers attractive working conditions for many international professionals. The country’s extensive range of additional benefits, including company cars, is particularly appealing to candidates from countries like the Netherlands and France. While base salaries might be comparable in countries like the Netherlands, candidates there might not have access to the same range of benefits as in Belgium.
In 2022, the Office for Foreigners granted 8,098 “long stay” visas, primarily for professional reasons. The number of work permits, which allow companies facing staff shortages to request foreign labor, increased by 75% to 721.
Language skills are essential for certain roles. While employers often lament the lack of language skills, not requiring French or Dutch proficiency can be an option for some positions. Most international candidates are fluent in their native language and English, which is beneficial for Belgian branches of international companies.
For higher-level profiles, a recruitment firm expands its search beyond borders to find candidates with specific sectoral, functional, or project management knowledge.
Eemployers who can plan ahead might consider reserving talents who are still studying in Belgium. Foreign students completing their master’s in Belgium can obtain a one-year residence and work permit upon graduation.