Internships in Belgium

Internship
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Updated on 06 October, 2023

Students usually have to do an internship to validate their academic training. What's the process of doing an internship in Belgium?

Advantages of an internship abroad

People from EU member states can live and work freely in any other member state without needing a visa, so Belgium is a country that welcomes many foreign students who choose to experience an internship abroad.

The different types of internships in Belgium

Nearly a dozen different types of internships are available in Belgium. Some are dedicated to students from academic or professional training, and some are for students in alternate education. Students from higher education institutions and universities, job seekers, and volunteers can also ask to intern in Belgium.

Help available in Belgium

If you're a student in Belgium, most universities and schools have a service dedicated to internships. You can also find lots of information on the different internship offers online.

The following institutions are also helpful. They usually have a list of companies and partners hiring interns throughout the year:

  • Belgian professional federations and associations;
  • The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • The administration for the three regions in Belgium;
  • European institutions (European Parliament, EU Council, European Commission, Economic and Social Committee, Regions Committee);
  • VDAB, the official employment agency in Flanders;
  • Youth centers (there are 15 across the country).

Lastly, newspapers are great for staying updated on job and internship offers in Belgium. Don't forget to look into job sections in La Libre Belgique, Le Soir, Knack, and Le Vif.

If you apply in one of the regions that aren't French-speaking, it's highly recommended that you speak German or Dutch.

Formalities to do an internship in Belgium

People from third countries (outside the EU) need to ask for a work permit B to do an internship in Belgium if their training is over three months. Otherwise, they might be asked to get a work permit. Formalities related to it are detailed in our article on work permits in Belgium.

Only advanced training organized by academic programs is accessible to foreign students. Other exemptions concern citizens from the Economic European Area (EEA), foreign students doing mandatory internships while studying in Belgium, and interns hired by Belgian public institutions or international organizations with public rights established in Belgium.

Internship agreement in Belgium

Some foreign candidates need to prove that their internship in Belgium is for their academic training. They need an internship agreement from their university, company, or organization. The contract details the intern's working conditions, tasks, and how they are supported during the internship.

Concerning the last part, you'll need a guarantor to provide you with a pledge of financial support and travel insurance of at least €30,000. If you're staying for over three months, you'll also need to provide judicial records that show a clean record over the last five years. These records cannot be older than six months. In addition, you need to provide a medical certificate no older than six months.

Legal duration of internships in Belgium

No legal duration exists for internships. They can be a minimum of one week and can extend to four months or even three years. Usually, foreign interns are hired for a period that goes from three months to one year.

Salary in Belgium

Unlike other countries, there's no regulation on salary for interns in Belgium. Companies aren't obligated to pay or compensate interns, except if they're over 21. In that case, they must be paid at least €751 monthly. Some programs, especially the ones within “L'enseignement en Alternance”, pay interns monthly, from €247 to €428.

Job seekers can ask for transitional internships from 3 to 6 weeks. They benefit from a €200 bonus monthly.

In some other cases, if the intern is to be paid, a legal document signed by both parties is issued, clearly mentioning the salary amount.

What about social protection for foreign interns in Belgium?

Any foreign student doing an internship in Belgium is covered by the insurance issued in their own country. In other words, no Belgian institution will cover them during the internship. Suppose interns aren't covered by social or additional insurance in their country of origin. In that case, they need to ask a third-party institution to cover them for the duration of the internship.

For interns who aren't students, they'll be covered by their guarantor, who has shown proof of being a Belgian citizen or resident, as well as 3 of their last pay slips or bank account statements to prove they can support you in emergencies.

Useful links:

Student Job

Actiris

Europa

Iagora

Europe Internship

European Commission - Traineeships Office

European Parliament

LinkedIn

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