Living and working in Belgium

Thinking of living and working Belgium? Moving to another country to work can be daunting, however once you make the move the rewards can be fantastic.  For example, the financial rewards can be a real incentive particularly in the contract market, but also the opportunities to experience a new culture and the exposure to new career opportunities working in an international environment can be very positive in the long run.

Living and Working in Belgium – Johnson & Johnson

CK Clinical would like to highlight the opportunities available for living and working in Belgium, and in particular with the global pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson.

In order to help you, we have interviewed a number of contractors who are already working in Belgium to get their perspective on living and working in Belgium.

Q. Why move to Belgium to work for Johnson & Johnson?

A. A number of reasons really.  Firstly there is the money.  The rates working here are much better than you would expect in the UK these days, that is a real incentive.  Also, there is the opportunity to experience a different culture.  Belgium also has such a strong Art culture that working here gives an opportunity to explore this too.

Q. What is so good about working Johnson & Johnson?

A. There are a lot of reasons to choose working here.  Firstly their systems are really advanced and working here provides the opportunity to work and get experience with these advanced systems which not only provides a challenge but also helps make you more employable in the future.  Then there is the working environment. It’s a relaxed atmosphere with a flat management structure.  They all tend to be approachable and you can also take on more responsibility if you want it.

Q. What languages do they speak?

A. Well in Belgium, you are right at the heart of Europe so you tend to find that there are a lot of languages spoken including French, Flemish and in some places even German.  The common language though is English.  Even if this was the only language that you spoke, so many people have such a strong command of English you would be absolutely fine.  At work this is the primary language that people use.

Q. How easy is it to move?

A. Moving is simple but there are a few things that you need to consider before you do move.  If you are coming here as a contractor, do you have your own company or do you work through an intermediary.  CK have contacts with a few intermediaries that you can use, they do charge for their services and sometimes its cheaper to work through your own company however we would recommend that you always speak with your accountant first.

You will also need a Belgian registration card, this lasts for 5 years and is relatively easy to get but will help you with lots of other things.  You will need to get this from your local town hall and take up to a couple of weeks to get but wont stop you getting started with other things in the mean time

You will need to make sure you have a bank account.  If you are working here as a contractor, it’s a good idea to look at a “non-resident” bank account.

Q. Where do you live?

A.  Well, you can always sort out an apartment straight away although, if you are really new to the area then it’s an idea to consider a B&B first whilst you decide exactly where you would like to live.

If you are working at Johnson and Johnson in Turnhout then there are a number of places that you can live within an easy commute.  For a slower pace of life, people tend to live in Turnhout itself.  If you would like a faster pace you can consider commuting from the Capital Brussels on a daily basis and this journey will take you just over an hour – hour and a half with the direct train and bus.  Alternatively, a large number of people live in Antwerp which is a bus journey from the site.