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Working abroad

For many, a good job abroad is a dream and the secret lies in good preparation. There are three questions to answer: are there job offers? Is those vacancies sufficiently paid? What about the other employment conditions, such as the length of the working week, the number of days off, pension accrual? Within the EEA it is fairly easy to find a job quickly, but working outside the EEA is much more difficult because you often need a work permit. Many countries, such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand have strict regulations when it comes to migrant workers.

Work permit

Whether or not you can work abroad depends on the country regulations. If you have obtained a visa for your country of destination, this does not automatically mean that you are allowed to work there. Therefore, check beforehand whether you have to meet certain conditions to get started. Obtaining a work permit is often a shared responsibility of the employer and the employee. For employers it is a good idea to hire a specialist who can advise about procedures and the necessary documents. Often an approval of the local Ministry of Labour is required. This permission is sometimes only given if the work cannot be carried out by a local employee. Having certain skills and knowledge that is scarce always has an added value.

Tip: Go to our country pages use the links available to find out more about visas, work permits, etc.


Living and/or working in another country has consequences for your:

  • healthcare
  • unemployment
  • family allowances
  • retirement
  • taxes

Expatriation? Secondment? Local contract?

Whether you and your employer opt for a secondment (or expatriation) or for local employment abroad depends on a number of factors. If your Belgian employer sends you to another country for a temporary assignment, you are a "seconded employee". During a secondment, the employment relationship with the employer remains in place so that you no longer have to complete any additional formalities upon your return. Moreover, you remain subject to the social security system of Belgium and exempt from submission in the country of temporary employment.

Please note: secondment is only possible in a country Belgium has concluded a social security treaty with (treaty country). Be sure to have a look at the list of treaty countries.

For long-term foreign assignments it is often easier to work on the basis of a local contract. Please note: in the case of local employment abroad, only the local national wage and employment conditions are of importance! In principle, you are subject to the social security system of that new country and consequently you will also have to pay your social contributions there from now on.

Tip: Any doubts about your social security? Use the simple and easy platform of the NSSO. You can also send your questions to contact@rsz.fgov.be.

Tip: It is often advisable to take out private medical insurance. Private insurance providers offer to take the social aspect to a higher level. After all, social security in your new host country can be very different from the one in Belgium.

Overseas Social Security

The Overseas Social Security (OSZ) is a public institution with a state guarantee that offers full coverage in social security field (pension, illness, disability, medical care, accidents, etc.). The OSZ is only possible if you are employed in a country outside the EEA or Switzerland. You can join individually or your employer can insure you with a collective contract. You pay a monthly contribution of your choice between a minimum and maximum amount laid down by law. The amounts are linked to the Belgian price index. More information about OSZ, the rates and how to join can be found on the official site.

Job search: vacancies

Finding a job starts with finding the right vacancy. On the following websites you could find your dream job:

Our own database is full of international vacancies. Use filters to find a specific country and find the right job quickly.

Did you know that there also is a list of numerous international job databases on vdab.be? You will find a lot of useful and practical information. There is a separate list for the United States.

Tip: Have your diploma recognised internationally if necessary. Diplomas are not automatically recognised in all countries. If you want your Flemish diploma to be recognised abroad, contact the NARIC centre of that country.