Hi! New here, considering moving to Belgium

Hello everyone,

My name is Jen, I am an American working on cruise ships and looking for a place to land in the next year or so.  My boyfriend of two years is Belgian and we are considering moving out there when we get off ship but we have questions...

How difficult is it to find a job in Belgium?  I am in hospitality now but my original background is in biochemistry (bachelor's degree).  I am learning French and will have the time once I'm off to learn some Dutch/Flemish as well (I'm pretty sure we'll be moving to the French area of the country but I know it helps to know both)

Will we have to get married?  We'd like to do this on our own time although I know it's easier visa-wise to get married.  I've read about a cohabitation visa but you can't work with that...or can you?

Any answers or advice is greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading!

Dear Jen,
Well it is a good thing that you are learning Belgium local languages already. This is the most important thing, if u wish to integrate into Belgium and to get work here because many people speak the local languages. If you are comfortable with living with your boyfriend for sometime before you finally decide to marry, it is OK. It is much better to take your time. This cohabitation visa or living-together visa information could be gotten online.
Veronica.

Thanks Veronica!

Is there any way I will be able to work on a cohabitation visa?  Or do you think I will need to find work freelance, or online outside of the country?

Looking at previous posts is generally a helpful thing. Chances are, others have asked the same question. http://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/service … /index.jsp This link has been provided previously, in regard to work permits. That is also the proper site to look on for all information regarding visas to Belgium.

Hello Jen,

I'm Irish and have been living in Belgium for a few years. My job means I'm always traveling so I probably haven't spent as much time in Belgium as others on this forum.

I would re-iterate that languages are important but maybe less so professionally if you intend to look for work in Bio-Chemistry. You will need to speak French to help you integrate socially.

Some advice - unemployment is very high in the French speaking part and most jobs are either in the Brussels region or in Flanders. Many jobs will be advertised as being tri-lingual, do not let that put you off.

Income taxes are insane. Public services are very good. Medical care is affordable. The beer is great. Overall people do not have a problem with English Speakers although there is some anomosity in certain quarters towards Americans.

By the way, in my experience it is better for a couple from two separate cultures to live in a neutral country, a buffer zone if you like.

Best of luck,
Michael

Hello Jen,
I am in pretty much the same predicament as you are. My fiance is also Belgian and I am American and trying to move in with him. I called the consulate of my district here in the US and asked the women what she recommended. She told me the most sure way to get a visa is to fine a job before you move or to spend the allowed three  months in Belgium looking. When you find a job that will hire you, you will need to return to the United State and go to the consulate of where you are registered to apply for the visa. She said it would take about a week for a work visa to go through. She said worst case scenario there is a way to get some sort of registration in the place of residence in Belgium if you are living with someone but this is not a visa and you wouldn't be able to leave the country for up to 15 months. She didn't say anything about the cohabitation visa but I did find information about that on the Belgian consulate website, I don't remember exactly but I don't believe you can also work with that visa. I work in the arts so I asked about freelancing or starting my own business but unfortunately she said that is almost impossible to get a visa for that.
I'm having a really hard time finding a job because I made the mistake of doing photography in college and Belgium isn't exactly a media capital. I can imagine you having a much easier time with bio-chem. Try monster.be, there are a lot of jobs posted on there.

Hope that helps and good luck!
Samantha

Hate to break it to you, sbialostok, but you should be speaking with the consulate in Belgium, not the US. It's the Belgian side that has the proper rules, in the US they are often confused, as this woman clearly was.

You cannot work in Europe without a work permit, which you will not be issued unless there is *no one else* in the whole of the EU who is qualified to do the job. First and foremost, jobs are open to Belgian citizens & legal residents. If none of those people is able to do this *highly specialized* job, then it will extend to all the rest of the EU. Are you qualified with such special skills that no one in Europe is able to do jobs you can? If not, that is not the way to come over here. You will end up back in the US after your 3 month Schengen visa is expired.

You can either look for a job as an au pair, or you can see if you qualify for a work permit after coming for cohabitation from the link provided above.

Sorry and I don't really know under which conditions you are actually leaving to be willing to come to Belgium from USA.

In the first place people here dislike and criticizes America, because they feel they are better, if you don't speak Dutch you will be rejected, and belgian people are cold and drink a lot.

And even when you will not believe me, to choose a belgian couple when you are not flemish is the most fricky thing you can do, unless you are refugee or you are desperate in your country.

...I have a privilege condition, have a work, my own house and kids doing great at school, but related to friendship and family matters, you become also dead. I am crazy to leave from here and looking forward to break free after 5 years trying to get used to this place.

People here are friendly, but will never become familiar with you or help you when there is nothing in return.!!!

For your own sake, forget this crazy idea  while you can.

...and a last comment that should make you think.

Belgium remains without a government because they cannot get agreed between themselves. Belgian are fighting against each other because one side speaks french and the other speaks the unspeakable "dutch".... they have the worst conflict inside here against each other.... what then can you expect as an immigrant????

...and don't forget that Europe, especially in Belgium, they don't like Americans, and they even think that Americans are stupid!!! CAN you imagine this????

o please, open your eyes!!!!:rolleyes:

Thanks everyone for your replies.  It seems that the cohabitation visa may be the way to go, unless perhaps I go in as a student to better learn the languages.  I've always been a bit of a nerd :-) so going back to school would be fun for me, and probably a good way to integrate myself into the country without having to rely too hard on bf's friends for company!

Melby, belated thanks for the link. And npenasco I'm sorry you are not enjoying living in Belgium!  But I won't let you put me off from going there. :-)

JenR82 :

Hello everyone,

My name is Jen, I am an American working on cruise ships and looking for a place to land in the next year or so.  My boyfriend of two years is Belgian and we are considering moving out there when we get off ship but we have questions...

How difficult is it to find a job in Belgium?  I am in hospitality now but my original background is in biochemistry (bachelor's degree).  I am learning French and will have the time once I'm off to learn some Dutch/Flemish as well (I'm pretty sure we'll be moving to the French area of the country but I know it helps to know both)

Will we have to get married?  We'd like to do this on our own time although I know it's easier visa-wise to get married.  I've read about a cohabitation visa but you can't work with that...or can you?

Any answers or advice is greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading!

I never really wanted to get married, nor did my girlfriend, we talked about it a lot but where quite happy just living together but in our case it helped, a lot, as we were from different countries. We should both have shares in Lufthansa and KLM considering all the flying up and down between South Africa and Belgium, and how were we to hold down permanent jobs? So we threw a picture perfect ceremony together in South Africa.  As soon as we produced an unabridged marriage certificate with Apostille and had it translated into Dutch, I was in, work and residence permit, no more 90day Schengen visas. So while marriage is not something to enter into lightly, it is probably something to consider doing sooner rather than later as you are already thinking about it, then you can get on with your life, as my wife and I can now finally do.

Hi, I am flying to Brussels in 2 weeks, I am romanian, I speak english, french and of course romanian. I am taking this challenge, by moving to Belgium, because I want to live in a neutral country, my husband is filipino, so I want equal chances for both of us. I am an english teacher, I worked in Canada, I was a live-in care giver for 2 years. I also worked on a cruise ship for 4 years, doing a waitress job. Still, my passion is working with kids. I have a one year old daughter, so I am looking for a job that would give me the time to look after my child as well. My mum will be coming with me, she will help me with my cutie. The only problem I am going there without finding first a job. So , that will be my challenge. If anyone knows something that might help me, please, leave a message. Thank you.

iucca :

Hi, I am flying to Brussels in 2 weeks, I am romanian, I speak english, french and of course romanian. I am taking this challenge, by moving to Belgium, because I want to live in a neutral country, my husband is filipino, so I want equal chances for both of us. I am an english teacher, I worked in Canada, I was a live-in care giver for 2 years. I also worked on a cruise ship for 4 years, doing a waitress job. Still, my passion is working with kids. I have a one year old daughter, so I am looking for a job that would give me the time to look after my child as well. My mum will be coming with me, she will help me with my cutie. The only problem I am going there without finding first a job. So , that will be my challenge. If anyone knows something that might help me, please, leave a message. Thank you.

How about teaching English as a part time job? Or au-pair? I have been here with my Belgian wife for a few months now and am absolutely loving it. Apart from the beer, this country has so much to offer. Sorry I can't offer any specific advice, but have you tried Google.be? I get most of my info on-line. All the best.

I don't know if she has one or not, but keep in mind a degree is needed for teaching English, or teaching of any sort.

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