Working in Europe | Unemployment | Belgium



Workers in Belgium enjoy excellent protection in the event of unemployment and illness. Unemployment benefits are one of the many components of Social Security in Belgium and replace lost income from work


International researchers are only entitled to receive unemployment benefits in Belgium if :

- there is a bilateral social security agreement between Belgium and their home country

- they have paid social security contributions in Belgium for a sufficient number of months

- they have registered as a job-seeker with the public employment agency for the region in which they are living.


For statistics on unemployment, see the website of Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue.



Unemployment benefits are managed by the federal National Employment Office (Office National de l'Emploi, ONEM - Rijksdienst voor Arbeidsvoorziening, RVA). The ONEM/RVA determines the framework and legal context for unemployment benefits and also decides whether or not an individual is entitled to receive them. The payment of unemployment benefits and the processing of individual files is done by a public agency or by trade unions.


The outplacement of unemployed workers is organized by (four) public regional agencies. Which agency is competent depends on where the unemployed worker lives.


The ONEM/RVA has developed 159 information sheets (in French or Dutch) on various topics related to individual situations, rights or unemployment benefits.



Each region of Belgium has its own public employment service.

Each service helps the unemployed workers to find a new job through job offers, publication of CV, training, personalised follow-up...




Useful links

In Flanders: VDAB

In Wallonia: Le Forem (in French)

In the Brussels-Capital Region: Actiris (in Dutch or French)

In the German-speaking Community: Arbeidsamt (in German or French)