Companies Sending Staff to Belgium

At the bottom of this page we have detailed information about our solution for Belgium, including management fees, work permit fees & processing times, payroll, taxation, and social security levels.

If you’re looking to send staff to Belgium for an overseas project, it can be difficult to find clear information on an unfamiliar jurisdiction, much less efficient solutions. You’re facing complicated issues, in addition to a host of problems you may not have even considered yet. To compound these difficulties, you’re likely under sizable time and budget constraints.

Contractor Taxation offers a comprehensive solution to these concerns, helping companies extend into new markets and rapidly deploy expatriate resources. Read more about the kinds of goals your company could be achieving, instead of using time and resources to research Belgium’s intricate tax and immigration information.

Taxation in Belgium

One of a company’s biggest concerns will be guaranteeing total compliance with any and all tax requirements. In order to safeguard both itself and the end client, a company needs to consider:

  • Personal income tax for their employees in Belgium
  • Social security costs
  • Payroll tax in Belgium
  • VAT/Sales tax in Belgium
  • Withholding tax in Belgium (if you’re in the U.S., learn more about withholding tax here)
  • Permanent establishment

Work Permits for employees in Belgium

Another major concern will be your ability to secure the appropriate Work Permit for your employee.

Employees need to be sponsored for a permit. To sponsor an employee yourself, you will need to be incorporated locally and be licensed to sponsor foreign workers. If you’re not already at that stage, organising a permit is an impossibility until you complete the (often lengthy) process of local incorporation and licensing. Depending on your project’s time frame, you might need employees on site quickly, making a Work Permit even more problematic.  

The end client may or may not be willing to sponsor a temporary worker, but this raises complicated payroll and employment issues. Sponsors often need to pay the sponsored employee, adding another layer of complication to the already-complex process of taking on a project in Belgium.

You might be able to explore alternate visas for your employee, or even use one visa and transfer to a Work Permit in order to expedite secondment. However, missteps can cost even more time (and money). If an employee is working on the wrong visa, you could be opening the end client to serious legal and financial risks.  

What is a management company and how can it help send your staff to Belgium?

Essentially, a management company operates like an outsourced employer. They sponsor your staff on local Work Permits (where required), employ your staff and payroll them locally. They deduct all local taxes and social security from the assignees’ pay at source, and then pay these to the local tax authorities. In short, they reduce your administrative burden, while mitigating the business risks of employee secondment.

Taxation: As specialists in local tax law, they ensure that an employee 1) is compliant with all regulations, and 2) keeps the largest possible portion of his or her earnings. This reduces your administrative work, along with any risk of tax violation in Belgium.

Immigration: Management companies can sponsor Work Permits for staff, eliminating one of the largest barriers of project work in Belgium.

If you urgently need staff on site, a management company can also help organise a Business Visa for the employee. They can then help the employee transition to a Work Permit, assuring that your employees start work faster while maintaining compliance with Belgium’s immigration regulations. 

Your company’s role: Although a management company involves a fee, you typically save money and time by reducing your administration, as well as potential liability. Why not get a quote and compare the total cost of employment?

Belgium payroll services

Firstly, do you have a local company in Belgium? If so, is it appropriately registered to run a payroll, or to deduct and file taxes? Does it have the right administrative staff and is it capable of staying up-to-date with local tax requirements? Is it able to sponsor international hires for Work Permits?

Without a suitable local company already in Belgium, you need to consider a few different options.

Setting up payroll in Belgium

You can incorporate locally, get registered, and hire staff to handle payroll in Belgium. This option depends on your circumstances; will your project justify the cost of incorporating locally? Will you be able to incorporate within the time limits of the project? Is it even possible to set up a company yourselves with local ownership requirements? Will this company be able to sponsor international hires on local Work Permits?

If you believe this is the correct route for your company, you likely need to consult a local accounting advisory firm. Time and budget permitting, you can also consult an international tax specialist like PWC or KPMG. Some of our partners offer assistance to foreign companies incorporating locally; check with us if you are interested.

Even if you decide that establishing a local payroll in Belgium is the right option for you, you should still consider using a local payroll provider.

Using a local payroll provider

The time frame of your project may not justify local incorporation. In that case, a payroll provider is a more efficient solution. Even if you plan on incorporating in Belgium, you can reduce security risks by using a payroll provider while you get set up. This solution is simple and only requires a monthly, commitment-free operational cost.

Payroll providers versus management companies

Outsourcing payroll can mitigate the risks and liabilities of sending employees to Belgium, but it’s prudent to consider using a management company rather than just a payroll provider. A management company specialises in all of the same payroll tasks, plus a multitude of other services.

Most notably, they are able to sponsor Work Permits for your staff. This means a management company can reduce immigration-related liability, in addition to their specialist tax and payroll solutions.

Getting started with a management company in Belgium

Co-employment eliminates your legal responsibility and dramatically lessens your administrative load. This frees your company to devote its resources to higher value business objectives, and helps maintain consistency across borders. However, different management companies offer different expertise, making it important to find the right company for your project.

Let us know your goals and we can give you easy, concise information on sending your staff to Belgium.  Our advice is free and doesn’t obligate you in any way.

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Work Permits in Belgium: Frequently Asked Questions



Yes you can either be sponsored on a Professional Card (for Self-Employed) or a D Permit (full employment).

Can a management company sponsor Work Permits for foreigners in Belgium? 

Yes you can either be sponsored on a Professional Card (for Self-Employed) or a D Permit (full employment)

How long does it take to get a Work Permit in Belgium?

4-6 weeks.

What is the work permit process in Belgium?

Copies of: passport, degree certificate, CV, police clearance, certificate from the candidates home country and residence card from the candidates home country are required plus a copy of the contract. The company sponsoring the visa then makes the application is lodged in Belgium once approved the candidate needs to be in their home country to have the visa ratified in the Belgian Consulate.

What documentation is required for a Belgium work permit?

The following are required: passport, degree certificate, CV, police clearance, certificate from the candidates home country and residence card from the candidates home country are required plus a copy of the contract.

What is the cost of a Work Permit in Belgium?

€ 1,500

Can you transfer from a Business Visa to a Work Permit in Belgium?

No. You can enter Belgium on a Schengen Visa but must leave to have the work permit approved.

€ 3,500


Business Visas in Belgium: Frequently Asked Questions



Can we organise business visas for Belgium?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Belgium?

10 days.

What is the cost of a Business Visa in Belgium?

€ 200

Can nationals of certain countries enter Belgium without a Business Visa (for example, on an entry visa or visa waiver)?

Yes but not to work.


Management Companies in Belgium: Frequently Asked Questions



What is the monthly cost of using a management company in Belgium?

€350 to €400

What is the estimated net retention for an assignee in Belgium earning USD 200,000 per year?

Depends on your expenses but you could expect between 60-65% if you utilize the services of an Umbrella Company.

What is the estimated net retention for an assignee in Belgium earning USD 100,000 per year?

*update pending


Payroll in Belgium: Frequently Asked Questions



How does payroll work for employers of foreign nationals in Belgium?

Your employer pays the candidate on a monthly basis, social security and income tax (which ranges from 25-55%) is taken at source and paid to the Belgium tax authorities. Belgium has very high rates of payroll tax or employer social security contributions totaling 24.77% of gross salary. This is made up of the child benefit 7%, unemployment benefit 1.46%, medical care in the case of sickness and incapacity 3.8%, sickness and incapacity benefits 2.35%, occupational illnesses 1%, industrial accidents 0.3% and pension (superannuation) 8.86%. Candidates are able to offset part of their taxable income with relevant business expenses. Note that employees also have to make 13.07% contribution to social security as well. This comprises unemployment benefit 0.87%, medical care in the case of sickness and incapacity 3.55%, sickness and incapacity benefits 1.15%, pension (superannuation) 7.5%. The World Bank estimates it costs employers 40 man days per year to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes.

What is the monthly cost to outsource payroll in Belgium?

€ 100

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