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 more than 160 embassies it ranks as the second largest diplomatic city in the world 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, although it's not essential.
Chesterfield Management provides a wide array of Accounting Solutions for contractors in Belgium. If you work as a contractor, or on a Freelance basis, where your work places you on a clients site you will usually need to invoice through a compliant company structure. Our dedicated staff have a thorough understanding of contractors needs and are professionally trained to provide the most appropriate solutions tailored to your personal circumstances.
Should you work in Belgium for 183 days you may be considered resident in Belgium for tax purposes from the date of your arrival.
Both Belgian income and corporate taxes and social security can be significantly higher than their equivalent UK or Ireland rates. Social security legislation called Limosa has been in place since 1st April 2007 and requires contractors working in Belgium to pre-register and obtain a certificate before commencing work. A new certificate is required if you change or renew/extend a contract. Often employees and agencies require detailed paperwork which can be complex.
Deductions in lieu of expenses are also possible at a flat rate, for contractors with higher expenses this may be available provided they are documented and accompanied by receipts.
It is therefore often advisable to operate through a specific arrangement for Belgium from the very beginning, especially if you are unsure of the duration of your stay.
The Contract Market
Along with 120 international organisations and 1400 international non-governmental organisations, Belgium is also the European headquarters for several international companies and many software houses are based in Belgium.
Contracting has become increasingly popular in Belgium to fill its vacancies and skill shortages. The majority of contractors work in Belgium’s two main cities, Brussels and Antwerp. However, opportunities also exist in regional centres including Maastrict and Ghent.
In Belgium your agency and client will require that you operate via a registered scheme and our contractor managers can advise on the best route for you. Our mission is to ensure that all our contractors are paid as quickly as possible and our hassle free approach to business and our innovate use of the latest technology frees up your time and saves you money.
Relocating to Belgium
Brussels 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 - 350 for a studio apartment or Euro 450 - 850 for a one bed roomed apartment in Brussels. If your accommodation needs are greater, for example if your family joins you, you should be able to find a 2 - 3 bed roomed apartment for Euro 1000 - 1500.
Whilst 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".
Healthcare is also available and the system is split between state and private, contributions are payable to both.
Traveling to Belgium
Belgium is very accessible by air, sea, road and rail. There are daily flights from the UK and Ireland to Brussels and Antwerp, supported by a number of major airlines including British Airways, British Midlands, VLM and Ryan Air. Ferry and rail services provide easy access from the UK and also allow you to bring your own car.
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.