The member states exchange information regularly on job vacancies, and local EURES offices have access to a considerable amount of information about applying for jobs and living and working conditions.
The international department of your home country employment service can put you in touch with one of their Euro-advisers, who will give you advice on finding work in Belgium. Euro-advisers can also forward your details to the national employment service of the country you’re interested in. The EU website contains information about EURES and EURES-related agencies in many European countries, as well as factsheets concerning specific countries.
Belgian government employment services are available by region and by language. The main employment service for the Brussels region is the ACTIRIS (Office Régional Bruxellois de l’Emploi/Brusselse Gewestelijke Diest voor Arbeidsbemiddeling) and there are sub-regional employment offices, SSE/STD (Services Subrégionaux de l’Emploi/Subregionale Tewerkstellingsdiensten), throughout Flanders and Wallonia.
Belgium is well served by private recruitment agencies, many of which operate on a European or worldwide basis. Some executive level management and information technology jobs are listed with headhunters in London or New York, particularly where broad international experience or English-language fluency is required. There’s also a variety of small to medium-size recruitment agencies in the US and UK specialising in international placements.
Many of the standard European and international employment agencies, such as Adia, Manpower, PA Consulting Group and Michael Page, have offices in Brussels and other cities. Locally owned and operated agencies often post clerical and administrative jobs in their shop windows.
Most legitimate recruitment services charge the employer a fee based on the annual salary paid to the successful candidate. Fees can run to as much as 40 or 50 per cent of a year’s salary, which the headhunter may have to refund if you don’t survive the initial probationary period (anything from one to six months). Be extremely wary of recruiters who demand a fee up front from the job applicant or expect you to reimburse them for postage, telephone costs or other charges incurred during the course of the job hunt.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in in Holland, Belgium & Luxembourg from Survival Books.