Build a career in Belgium as an international

All the practical steps to access the Belgium job market

Recently graduated from a Belgian university?

Looking for a job in Belgium? Start your own business in Belgium? The orientation year solution is a perfect option for all graduates outside the European Economic Area (EEA) because it gives unlimited access to the Belgian labour market. It gives you time to find a job that suits you and find yourself a nice place to live.

Here is all the information you need!

Here are some more reasons to come work in Belgium:


In Belgium there are more than 1500 beers! They all have different tastes, so you surely will find some you like.

Our beautiful cities

We have a lot of beautiful cities, like Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. Or do you prefer Brussels? Find out here! 

We love to eat!

Belgians love to eat! We adore our fries, chocolate and our classics like vol-au-vent, stoofvlees and mussels with a wine sauce.

Stay healthy

We have one of the best healthcare systems in Europe (and we are proud of it 😉)

Music to my ears

Belgium also has many musical talents, like Stromae, Angèle, Lost Frequencies and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to name just a few. On Spotify you can find playlists with the best songs made in the past decades. The songs can also help with learning Dutch or French and are fun to dance to.

Earn that money

A study by SD Worx in 2023 found that Belgian workers are the most satisfied with their pay, compared to other European countries. Do you need another reason?

5 steps for an overview of the process

1. Condition check

You just graduated in Belgium and you got a:

  • Graduate / bachelor / Master
  • PhD degree or you obtained
  • A diploma in another EU country and followed a mobility program (e.g. Erasmus Mundus) in Belgium.
2. Collect the necessary documents
  • Student residence permit
  • Valid international passport
  • Diploma or graduation certificate for a Belgian institution for higher education
  • Proof of valid health insurance
  • Proof of financial solvancy (730 euro/month)
    • Annex 32 (drop-out to question 1 of FAQ)
    • Blocked account (drop-out to question 2 of FAQ)
    • Work contract (NO temporary contacts, NO Probation period)
3. Submit your file on time
  • Deadline = 15 days before the expiration date of your student residence permit (your application will be refused if you do not respect this).
  • Send your application and all documents online or ask your school (click here)  for assistance! Many Belgian higher education institutions offer assistance to non-EEA graduates. This way you are sure that your application is complete and in order.
  • You can file it yourself, but the waiting period is significantly longer (10 weeks)
  • If you are based in Antwerp (city or districts), application here
4. Application pending
  • If the application for a search year has been submitted on time and completely, and your stay as a student expires while it is being processed, the city will then provide you with an Annex 15.
  • You can now start working in Belgium under the same conditions as EEA citizens!
5. Access to the Belgian labour market
  • The Immigration Office may check on whether you are actually making attempts to find a job or started to set up your own business. The Immigration Office will assess your file and after approval, you will be invited to order your new residence permit. The orientation year residence permit is valid for one year and will guarantee you unlimited access to the Belgian labour market.

For more information, visit:

Migration Office

Send an email to:

Study in Flanders

See more

Your future in Flanders, let's make it work

See more

What's next


Integration course at Atlas

find a job

Find a job

  • Global Directory of Employers (launch in 2024)
  • VDAB
find a home

Find a home


What is an annex 32?

Annex 32 is another way to prove you have sufficient funds to be able to finance this orientation year. Annex 32 is a declaration of financial support. With this annex, a guarantor takes over the costs of a student from a third country. In this way, you can demonstrate that you have sufficient means of support. The Annex 32 must be completed and signed by either a Belgian or an EU citizen residing in the EU, a non-EU citizen with a permanent residence in an EU Member State, or your direct relatives up to the third degree, who must have sufficient income. According to Belgian law, this person, your guarantor or sponsor, must be able to demonstrate that he or she earns at least €1,845.48 per month for him or herself + €730 per month for the student.

If the application is admissible, the Immigration Department must take a decision within a period of 90 days from the date of the acknowledgement of receipt of the application. If the Immigration Department cannot take a decision before the A-card expires, the municipal administration will give you a certificate that temporarily covers your stay in Belgium. This certificate is valid for 45 days and can be extended twice by the same period.

What is a blocked account?

To obtain an orientation year permit, you need to prove that you have sufficient funds to finance this extra year. You can either use a sponsor, provide proof of a work contract or take advantage of a blocked account via your Belgian institution for higher education. The blocked account is the most recommended procedure as it is a quicker process overall. It means you transfer the funds as a whole in advance to a Belgian institution for higher education and they will then distribute a monthly amount to you to cover your basic costs of living.

What is an annex 15?

The city will provide you the Annex 15 document when your application is submitted and your student residence card is expired. This means that you can start working full-time with your Annex 15 document while waiting for the approval of the application and the issuance of the orientation year residence permit.

What after a positive decision?

After a positive decision from the Federal Immigration Office, you receive an A-card for 12 months. The period covered by Annex 15 is deducted from these 12 months. You have now unlimited access to the Belgian labour market with the A-card. An extension of the A- card on the basis of an orientation year is not possible.

What if I already found a job?

Congratulations! Your employer can now apply for a single permit that gives you the right to reside and work in Belgium. When your employer applies for a single permit for you, it may take 3 months or more before the single permit is issued. That is why (if you have never worked before) it may be useful to apply for an orientation year permit. In the meantime, you will have a valid residence document (the Annex 15 document or the orientation year permit) until you receive the single permit.

Can I ask you a question?
Use the FAQ section of your site to answer those routine questions that always come up and need to be answered. This is a great way to tell us more about what you can offer, fill in some details that might intrigue us, and show us how knowledgeable and helpful you can be.
What does “unlimited access to the Belgian labour market” means?

This means that you can now work unlimited hours, even full time, and without a work permit. For these temporary jobs, you do not have to meet the conditions of the single permit. Although these temporary jobs can be interesting and can provide you with an income, they are not the purpose of the orientation year. The real goal of the orientation year is to find a job that qualifies for a combined permit or to take the necessary steps to start as a self-employed person.

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