Moving to Brussels..Along with Husband & Mother-in-Law

Hi Everyone,

I went through many blog sites but found that in this site, each blog has been answered with lot of information. Hence I am posting my query here  :)

Kindly help me with your expertise/suggestions on my below queries:

Overview:
My husband will be travelling to Brussels on work assignment (Software/IT) from his company in Dec'15 for long-term assignment (2-3yrs). His office is located at 1030 Schaerbeek. Initial 6 months, he is planning to share a room or take 1-BHK. Later I and my mother-in-law will be joining him somewhere in the month of July-August’16. That time we would like to shift to a 2-BHK apartment.

Queries:
1. Some of his colleagues suggested him to stay in Etterbeek. I found on google maps that it is 30min travel to Schaerbeek, which is OK for him. Does Etterbeek have Indian shops? Is it in city center or suburbs? How about the connectivity to airport, other major part of the Brussels city?

2. How much a 1-BHK cost in Etterbeek?

3. How much average monthly expense per person one can expect staying in Brussels? (House Rent, Utility bills, mobile bill, internet, commute expense, grocery shopping etc.)

4. Once I and my mother-in-law reach Brussels, we would like to move to a residential place where many Indian families stays nearby, so that my mother-in-law can have some people to talk to, can go out for evening walks, nearby grocery stores and well-connected. Kindly suggest some place and also the price of 2–BHK in the area?

Many thanks in advance.

Regards,
Aditi

A very well formulated query :) Nice !

1. Some of his colleagues suggested him to stay in Etterbeek. I found on google maps that it is 30min travel to Schaerbeek, which is OK for him. Does Etterbeek have Indian shops? Is it in city center or suburbs? How about the connectivity to airport, other major part of the Brussels city?

-> Etterbeek is in the city limits. It is well connected to the city and the airport. There are Indian grocery shops in Etterbeek or reachable from Etterbeek. Evere (1140) is another commune with good Indian community and accessibility to airport, super markets and Indian grocery shop. There are many IT folks living here as bachelors / with family. There is also a small mandir in Evere, if that is of interest for you.

2. How much a 1-BHK cost in Etterbeek?

-> It depends on the property. immoweb.be is a good resource. You can create search filter based on the locality, number of bedrooms, etc. (if you create for 1040 Etterbeek and number of bedrooms, it will give you results matching that criteria and by going through the offers, you will get an idea of the pricing).

3. How much average monthly expense per person one can expect staying in Brussels? (House Rent, Utility bills, mobile bill, internet, commute expense, grocery shopping etc.)

-> Thread: http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.ph … 11#2707469 will give you a broad idea. Costs are subjective (depends on one's lifestyle).

4. Once I and my mother-in-law reach Brussels, we would like to move to a residential place where many Indian families stays nearby, so that my mother-in-law can have some people to talk to, can go out for evening walks, nearby grocery stores and well-connected. Kindly suggest some place and also the price of 2–BHK in the area?

-> If you plan to have your mother in law to live with your family in Belgium as a dependent, that is not possible. She can be here for a short visit and stay max 90 days in one entry. For housing, I would point you again to immoweb. Etterbeek, Woluwe St. Lambert, Evere, Woluwe St Pierre, etc are nice places to live (There may be many more, but these are the ones I know).

There are many threads in Brussels Forum: http://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=257 and Belgium Forum: http://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=256  in which you may find topics or questions asked, and their responses. You may get some additional helpful information from these.


Another Tip: If you apply for the visa along with your husband's visa application (husband and wife applying together), the paperwork is much simpler than the process applicable for applying spouse visa once he is already here. http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=434496 this thread has some more info about that.

Hi Aneesh,

Many thanks for an elaborate & informative reply for all my queries and the tip.

1. As you mentioned that my mother-in-law can’t stay for more than 90 days in a single trip, what are the options available so that she can stay for maximum time with us?
E.g., My sister-in-law is a citizen of UK. Is it possible that my mother-in-law stay’s with us for 90 days, goes to London for couple of weeks, re-apply for visa (if required) and then can come back for another 90 days?

2. Are there any contracts or deposits when we take house for rent (like in India)?

Thank you in advance.

Regards,
Aditi

Aditi Sarkar :

Hi Aneesh,

Many thanks for an elaborate & informative reply for all my queries and the tip.

1. As you mentioned that my mother-in-law can’t stay for more than 90 days in a single trip, what are the options available so that she can stay for maximum time with us?
E.g., My sister-in-law is a citizen of UK. Is it possible that my mother-in-law stay’s with us for 90 days, goes to London for couple of weeks, re-apply for visa (if required) and then can come back for another 90 days?

2. Are there any contracts or deposits when we take house for rent (like in India)?

Thank you in advance.

Regards,
Aditi

1. She must go back to India (home country - which she holds the passport of) to apply for another visa to make another visit to EU. I have heard there is a cooling off period between two visits. (As per Schengen visa code, the definition of “short stay” is a stay of "90 days in any 180 days period".  This  means  that  the total duration  of  stay  is  of  maximum  90  days,  in  any period of 180 days. As per this definition, once a person completes 90 days stay, he/she must wait another 90 days to make a new application. I may not have understood it correctly. You may check with VFS (http://vfs-be-in.com/ - the organization that handles schengen visa applications) for an official answer.)

2. Yes, there are contracts. (some landlords agree for 1 year contract, some ask for minimum 3 years contract) Security deposit is 2 months rent as per the law. This money is deposited in a joint back account which can be withdrawn only with the consent of both parties.

More info about contracts in immoweb: http://www.immoweb.be/en/Page.cfm?Page= … tracts.htm

Hi Aneesh,

Thank you once again for all information!!
I will post more queries in case I need more information :)

Regards,
Aditi

Hey Aditi! Etterbeek is a really nice area to live in :) By the way, since you are new and looking for apartments - please be warned that Molenbeek region of Brussels is very unsafe. In light of the recent events in Brussels and Paris, Molenbeek is considered a hotspot for shady activities and I would highly advise you to stay away from that area. Just fyi.

As for your mother in law, she can come on a Schengen visa (category C for tourism). But one must wait 6 months from the date of a successful Schengen visa application for a second one.

And not to disappoint you but getting a full 90 days Schengen visa for a mother in law is not easy unless you have a very vivid and elaborate travel plan or reason for her in EU. But even more importantly, given the political situation in EU and Belgium with regards to immigration, it would be highly unlikely that she will get 2 Schengen visas in a year (the maximum number of successful Schengen visas one can obtain in a year).

You would be wise to make it sound more like she is coming for tourism and sight seeing etc. than simply staying with you guys *for as long as possible* because it sounds a bit like immigrant intent (which it sort of is from your post).

Hope your visa prep goes well :)

Thank you so much for the useful & important information.
We will keep that in mind while searching for the house.

Well, I have one more query.

I am currently serving my notice period here in India & hence will be joining my husband in Brussels afterwards. I am curious to know how easy/difficult is to get a job in Brussels trying from outside Belgium? I am thinking to give it a shot from India itself.

My Work Experience Details:
-Total 8 years of IT experience in Content Management & development/administration of Web-based application using Microsoft SharePoint
-I have 2.5 years of experience of working in Singapore as well.

Note: My dependent visa is still not ready yet.

Once again thanks for all the help!!

Regards,
Aditi

Generic Info:

It is not easy but not impossible too to secure a job while being in India. (May be you already did) Do register in EU job portals, join linked-in groups related to ICT jobs in Belgium and start actively searching and contacting employers who publish openings. Companies that hire non-EU citizens locally, must apply for a B type work permit for the candidate (you). This procedure is not straightforward (as they have to prove to the labor ministry that they cannot find this skill inside EU, etc), but the MNCs in Brussels who hire a lot of expats are very experienced in this process and they get the permit approved without much issues.

With only Engish language proficiency, MNCs with international client-base (or those handle international business from Brussels) or Belgian subsdiaries of foreign companies are the only potential hiring organizations. For jobs in local companies (with majority local employees or which deals with local clientele) or local customer facing jobs, local language (FR or NL - pretty good conversational) skills are a must.

Other options are to register as self employed or freelancer. Professional card or blue card are options to try. More info:
http://economie.fgov.be/en/entreprises/ … mZir7-N3f3
http://www.werk-economie-emploi.irisnet … europeenne

Companies who cannot spend on securing a work permit OR who offers contractual roles, look for candidates with professional or blue card.


Guidelines in setting up own business.

http://business.belgium.be/en/managing_ … _business/

Hope this helps.

From your posts I see you are planning to join your husband later. As I wrote earlier also, if you apply together, the procedure and paper work is easy, than when you apply later to join as a dependent.

Hey Aditi!

A bit out of the topic, but if you have some time - perhaps you could start learning a bit of French :) It is something fun to do and will help you both in daily life and perhaps finding a job (although I think most IT related jobs don't necessarily need that).

And I can say from our experience of renting a house that - my husband and I signed up only for 1 year contract and we wanted to give our landlord the deposit but she was too listless to come to the bank for opening a blocked account, lol she's too cool for school :D . So we haven't paid any deposits.

By the way, in Belgium, you don't pay the broker or the real estate agent when he helps you find the house- this fee is paid by the home owner, how nice :)

I freeze like the woolly mammoth in the European winter. If it is your first time in Europe, pack extra EXTRA warm clothes :)

New topic