Recruiting in Belgium allows international companies that have undertaken Global Expansion to activate their business plans. Belgium’s membership in the European Union (EU) means workers from fellow EU nations have free movement into the employment market, along with those from Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland. Although this widens the net, employers must generally first offer jobs to locals, with some exemptions applying to highly-skilled individuals in skills shortage sectors.
An unusual challenge facing foreign companies stems from Belgium’s three official languages affecting social and business life. Dutch speakers generally have good knowledge of English, particularly in the Brussels-Capital region. Around 60% of Belgians speak Dutch in the northern region of Flanders. In Wallonia in the south, over 30% speak French, with a small percentage in East Belgium speaking German.
Finding and recruiting Top Talent in Belgium is always a primary task, particularly thousands of miles from home base. The recruitment process is rarely straightforward, and reels of red tape must be unravelled. Once staff are in place, employers must comply with strictly-applied legislation that sets out their obligations and protects the rights of employees. This is where Bradford Jacobs’ expertise is vital for taking the smartest recruitment route into Belgium. Bradford Jacobs’ Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) networks have a global reach. We will have your staff up and running in the shortest time. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put your company’s brightest talent in place.
International companies recruiting in Belgium have a broader target market than Belgian citizens. Belgium’s European Union (EU) membership allows workers from fellow EU nations to have free movement into the employment market, along with those from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland.
Recruitment is the first stage in making your company successful and competitive in Belgium. However, employers generally must prove that a Belgian or EU national cannot fill vacant positions before being offered to a ‘Third Country National’. This complicates recruiting from major employment markets such as the USA, UK, Australia and Asia. But these restrictions complicate moving staff into the country and obtaining correct immigration and work documentation.
Once employees are recruited and onboarded in Belgium, the employer must comply with responsibilities, including:
When recruiting in Belgium, employees’ pre-hire checks are a grey area to be treated with caution. Checks should be restricted to questions relevant to the position and the applicant’s capabilities, qualifications and experience for the role. Outside of these parameters, candidates have the right to refuse to answer. Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) can prohibit employers from asking certain questions.
Criminal record checks: Must be specifically relevant to the role and sector, such as the security positions.
Education and reference checks: Permissible when relevant to the role and with the applicant’s agreement.
Health and medical checks: Legally required for certain sectors and roles, such as the food industry, transportation and operating heavy-duty equipment.
Privacy: Using social media as a source of information should stay within the guidelines of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and anti-discrimination laws.
Required: Immigration and work permit compliance.
International companies recruiting in Belgium must be aware of basic facts on hiring staff and employment legislation demands:
After hiring and onboarding new staff, employers must comply with their employees’ statutory entitlements. Mandatory standards include sick leave, working hours, maternity allowances, paid vacations, termination and severance and notice periods. Contracts or legally-binding CBAs can improve all statutory minimums. Examples include:
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