Brussels - Post Report Question and Answers

What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There is a way to get approved to work on the local economy, which some people do; the embassy will help you with the process. Takes a couple months. - Feb 2023

US expat spouses often worked at one of the three embassies. Some worked at international schools, others in the local economy. - Jan 2022

Most spouses work through the Embassy because Belgium has weird laws regarding taxes and working on the economy. There are almost no part-time positions available for spouses at the Embassy. - Oct 2021

It is hard to compete with locals in Brussels who speak at least three languages. EFMs usually work within the Tri-mission or in the international schools. If you are desperate to work you will find a job. - Sep 2020

EFM jobs at embassy are easiest jobs, a few people work at schools. Local work permits are complicated and the US telework situation is potentially complicated as well. - Sep 2020

Most spouses who want jobs at the embassy can find one. It's hard to find a local job because typically you need to be fluent in French and Dutch. We do have a bilateral work agreement, but it's probably very difficult to find a job here. Local salaries are high but so are taxes. Some spouses telecommute to jobs back in the U.S. - Mar 2020

Very hard to get permit to work locally. Most people I know who have tried have taken minimum six months. Not worth it to try to work on the local economy as Belgians pay almost 50% of their checks in taxes. - Feb 2019

There are MANY family member positions at the mission. I don't know more than that. - Feb 2019

They require local permits to work, so very few jobs for spouses outside of the embassy. - May 2018

There are +/-50 EFM positions available within the Tri-Missions. Working on the local economy requires a work permit or a professional card for free-lancers. The MFA will not accept a work permit request prior to arrival at post and the process may take up to 2 months. It is permissible to actively seek employment and interview for positions while waiting for the permit but work on the local economy cannot begin without this document. - Dec 2016

Some but it requires a ream of paperwork. - Aug 2014

Possibly. For the more professional types probably. For those who are multilingual, most definitely. For regular joes like me with no professional leanings and no desire to work at the embassy, not really. - Jul 2014

There are a few people I know who have been able to find work locally but not too many. Most jobs require not only English and French but also Dutch. - Apr 2014

Both French and Dutch are often needed to obtain work on the local market, but U.S. government family members have lots of options at the Tri-Missions. - Jan 2014

Not on the local economy, and work permits seem difficult. - Jan 2014

Yes, but a work permit can be a lengthy wait (2-4 mos). - Oct 2012

Totally. Lots of international organisations, business, NGOs, lobby groups, thinktanks if you have skills. If you are unskilled, pretty hard,as for retail/clerical jobs you'll often need French and Dutch, if not also English. - May 2012

There are quite a few jobs available in the Tri-Mission - Jan 2012

Yes, if you speak French and Dutch. - Aug 2011

Unless you are multi-lingual or incredibly experienced, Brussels is stuffed with high-educated, very international, multi-lingual folks. However, there are Volunteer opportunities with Relay for Life, Girl Scouts, at the Int'l Schools, at refugee centers, with Serve the City and many other NGOs abound. But paying work is hard to come by as it is VERY competitive. - Jul 2011

Not onless you (a) speak fluent French and Flemish or (b) can get a job with EU or NATO or an embassy. - Jun 2011

Yep. - Jun 2010

Yes. - Jun 2010

Yes, especially if you speak French. - Mar 2010

Yes. There are many international companies and organizations that hire expats. - Jul 2009


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