Belgium is a great place to work. It has opportunities for professionals from throughout Europe, and beyond. Each year hundreds of thousands of migrants move to Belgium for employment. Most expat professionals send remittances to their families back home via the Ria Money Transfer App and similar channels. However, many migrants bring along their families to Belgium. Here is a look at some prospects for expat spouses in Belgium to supplement the family income.
Partners of non-EU migrants in Belgium are not automatically eligible to work in the country. They must get type B or type A work permits. Those who wish to pursue self-employment in Belgium require a ‘Professional Card’. Although not difficult to get, these documents are necessary formalities.
This is one of the few jobs in Belgium which migrants can get based on their English proficiency. The country has many international schools and private educational institutions. Their medium of instruction is English. The official employment statistics of the European Commission state that there are 6,100 available jobs in academic professions in Belgium. Teaching jobs in Belgium can pay from EUR 1,500-1,800 per month.
Most teaching jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification. English teaching jobs additionally require a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) certification. For those who have been teaching English in their home countries, getting a TEFL certification is relatively straightforward. Those who plan to continue teaching after moving to Belgium should plan to get a TEFL certificate in advance.
International tourism in Belgium has been thriving. Belgium welcomed 18.9 million international tourists in 2019. The country’s official tourism statistics report that the sector generates EUR 1.7 billion in annual revenues. It also generates a constant stream of employment opportunities. Data from the European Commission shows that there are 3,600 open hospitality jobs in Belgium. Hotel employees in Belgium earn from EUR 1,200-1,400 per month. Almost all hospitality jobs require proficiency in at least one of the national languages, and English. This amounts to a low entry barrier. Many hospitality jobs do not require a specialized master’s level qualification. A report from EURES (European Employment Services) stated that graduates without specialized degrees have the best prospects of recruitment in wholesale, retail, and hospitality.
Working in retail is an option for expat spouses with excellent local language skills. EURES estimates the creation of 3,500 new administrative and support jobs in retail as soon as the industry gets back on track. Monthly salaries range from EUR 800-1,200 depending on the job profile, responsibility, and nature of work. Working in retail is often preferable for those seeking part time work or flexible hours.
Art is a perennial occupation. The Washington Post and The Bulletin reported an increase in interest in contemporary art and crafts in Belgium in the past decade. Much of this was attributed to the influx of international artists. Migrant artisans can create a niche for themselves by introducing Belgians to the art and culture of their home country. In addition to producing original work, employment options include conducting workshops and classes. Artisans can approach local exhibitions to showcase their unique artworks. These can include paintings, papier-mâché, wooden handicrafts, ornamental pottery, handmade jewelry, and so on. Artists can participate in annual fairs such as the Accessible Art Fair in Brussels and the Artistentoer Festival in Tervuren.
It is possible to continue many kinds of remote freelance work after migrating. Digital marketing, programming, web designing, and video editing are some examples of universally marketable skills. Qualified expat spouses may consider setting up private practices to gain local clients in Belgium. The work can relate to consulting, translation, language tutoring, therapy, and other domains. Be sure to obtain the relevant type B permit or a Professional Card before starting out with self employment in Belgium.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.