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Home > Belgium - Overseas Factsheet

Belgium - Overseas Factsheet

Belgium is an extremely popular location with international contractors. Only an hour from London by Air, the capital Brussels is home to many thriving international expatriate communities.

Brussels is the location of numerous European union institutions including the European Parliament and European Commission. With 159 Embassies it ranks as the second largest diplomatic city in the world and where around 30% of its inhabitants are nationals of other countries.

The country has three official languages, French, German, and Flemish (itself quite similar to Dutch). English is quite widely spoken and many Belgians speak it reasonably well, it is an advantage if you speak some French, though it's not essential.

The Contract Market

Along with 120 international organizations and 1400 international non governmental organization. Belgium is also the European headquarters for several international companies and many software houses are based in Belgium.

Contracting has become an increasing popular in Belgium to fill its vacancies and skill shortages. The majority of contractors work in Belgium two main cities Brussels and Antwerp, however, opportunities also exist in regional centres of population including Maastrict and Ghent.

Taxation Issues 

As soon as you work in general in Belgium for 183 days (6 months) or more you will be considered to be resident in Belgium for tax purposes from the date of your arrival.

Matters can be further complicated if you continue to use our limited company from your country of origin. Since the control and management of most contractors companies rest with the contractors themselves, then it naturally follows that if the directors relocates to Belgium, the Belgian authorities can deem the company to be Belgian resident and tax it accordingly.

Both Belgian income and corporate taxes and social security are significantly higher than their equivalent UK or Irish rates. It is therefore advisable to operate through a management company from the very beginning, especially, if you are unsure whether or not the duration of your stay is likely to be less than 183 days.

Relocating to Belgium

Skyscraper in BrusselsBrussels has a wide range of good quality rental accommodation available and there is usually no shortage of rented accommodation for long or short term lets at reasonable rents. Rental property is usually well furnished and equipped with TV, video and stereo normally included as standard.

Rental costs in Brussels vary. You can expect to pay Euro 250 and E350 for a studio apartment or Euro 450 - 850 for a one bed roomed flat in Brussels. If your accommodation needs are greater, for example, if your family joins you should be able to find a 2 - 3 bed roomed apartment for E1000 - 1500.

While it is usually more economical to rent furnished accommodation, like most diplomatic cities, household furniture is available on a rental or lease basis.

Brussels is a popular location for contractors with families and there are several schools for all ages such as "The British International School"

Traveling to Belgium

Belgium is very assessable by Air, Sea, Road and Rail. There are daily flights to Belgium and Antwerp.

Airlines with regular flights between the UK and Belgium include:

From Ireland:

There is a direct Rail link between London's Waterloo Station and Brussels Midi / Zuid station. The Eurostar services takes approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes. Bookings must be made with Eurostar in advance.

You can do this online but you must check in at least 20 minutes before departure. If you are bringing your car the English departure point is located at junction 11A of the M20 with the French arrival / departure point at junction 16 of the A16 motorway.

There are also passenger and car ferries in operation from Dover to Calais or Ostend and from Folkestone to Boulogne.

For further information you should visit:

Belgium has a very good public transport system. The Metro or underground in Brussels is the best way to travel and there are also fast and reliable rail links to most destinations in Belgium.

Belgium Links

  • - news and community for expatriates in Holland, Germany, France and Belgium. This has links to accommodation and travel sites
  • Living in Belgium - A very good summary guide


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