LIVING IN BELGIUM

Belgium is a small but very prosperous European country with a developed economy and a high standard of living. The capital Brussels is home to the headquarters of major political organizations such as the European Union and NATO, as well as the secretariat of the Benelux countries. In other words, it is an important international political center, where many global problems are discussed and solved.

Belgium has a population of about 11.7 million people. The country is comfortably located next to Germany, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, which contributes to the development of economic, cultural and social ties with the most successful countries in Europe. About prices and living costs, taxes, employment, salaries, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in Belgium in 2022 we will talk further.

Living in Belgium

Pros and cons of living in Belgium

Living in Belgium for foreigners from third countries will give the opportunity to eventually obtain the Belgian citizenship and to stay in Western Europe forever. This country has three official languages – Dutch, French and German, a strong labor market and many opportunities for immigrants. But there are also negative aspects. Let's highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Belgium.

Pros of living in Belgium

  • Belgium is a country with a stable democracy, transparent legal institutions, minimal corruption, and fair courts.

  • Belgium has an excellent infrastructure, a quality health care and education system.

  • Thanks to its favorable geographical location, Belgian business successfully develops and builds trade relations with the largest economies in the world. Although, in the ranking of the agency Doing Business out of 190 countries of the world on the availability of starting a business, the country takes only 46th place.

  • In addition to the fact that the country has three official languages, most Belgians are fluent in English.

  • Belgium has an interesting culture, beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine.

Pros and cons of living in Belgium

Cons of living in Belgium

  • Belgium has a complex state system with many regional differences.

  • Some foreigners note the high level of bureaucracy, unusual for European countries.

  • Life in Belgium is very expensive.

  • High tax rates.

  • Variable climate.

Prices and cost of living in Belgium

Belgium is quite an expensive country to live in. Rent of a one-room apartment in the central part of the city costs about 720 euros, and in remote areas about 600 euros. The price of one square meter of real estate in the center – 2,965 euros, and 2,460 euros outside the city. In addition to the capital Brussels, the best cities to live in Belgium are Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Leuvel and Liege.

Prices in Belgium in 2022

  • Bread (500g) – 1.68 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 0.91 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 2.60 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 9.04 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 1.38 euros

  • Belgian cheese (1 kg) – 12.27 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.72 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 2.26 euros

  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.42 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 2.00 euros

  • Public transport – 2.50 euros

  • Monthly bus pass – 49 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 145.40 euros per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (1 minute) – 0.20 euros

  • Internet – 46.97 euros per month

Note. The above prices are average figures for different cities in Belgium.

TaxesinBelgium

Tax rates in Belgium in 2022

Corporate income tax – 29.58%. In some cases there is a gradual reduction of the rate, up to 25%. For example, if the owners of more than 50% of the shares of the company are individual owners and the annual turnover is less than 322.5 thousand euros.

VAT – 21%. For some categories of goods and services, for example, medical equipment for the disabled and passenger transportation, there are reduced rates – 12%, 6% and 0%.

Income tax:

  • Annual income up to 13,870 euros – 25%

  • Annual income from 13,870 euros to 24,480 euros – 40%

  • Annual income from 24,480 euros to 42,370 euros – 45%

  • Annual income over 42,370 euros – 50%

Dividend tax – 15%

Property tax – from 1.25 (Wallonia) to 2.5% (Flemish Region)

Municipal tax – 9%

Social security fund – 35% (employer) and 13.07% (employee)

Jobs and wages in Belgium

To be legally employed in Belgium, applicants from third countries must first find a vacancy, sign a labor contract, obtain a work permit and open a work visa. The unemployment rate in the country does not exceed 5-7%, but given the high competition there are very few vacancies at the Belgian labor market. The professions that are in short supply in Belgium are programmers, nurses, engineers, construction workers, social workers and English teachers.

The standard working week in Belgium lasts 38 hours. The minimum wage in 2022 is €1,691.40 per month. This is one of the highest in the European Union. Even trainees who are at least 21 years old must be paid at least 751 euros per month. According to the Belgian publications Vacature and Leuven University, the average salary in Belgium is 3,401 euros per month. After tax deductions, about 2,000-2,200 euros remain.

Higher education in Belgium

Higher education in Belgium

Education in Belgium is available in one of the official languages of the country, especially French and Dutch, as well as in English. There are six Belgian universities in the top 300 of the prestigious QS World University Rankings 2022. The Catholic University of Leuven, Ghent University and the Free University of Brussels are considered the best.

Important. The cost of education in Belgium for students from third countries, including Russia and Ukraine, in the universities of Flanders does not exceed 1,500 thousand euros per year. At universities of the French group 4,175 euros, and for Belgians and Europeans about 375-837 euros a year.

The requirements for admission to a Belgian university depend on the specific institution. A secondary school diploma and proof of language skills are compulsory. For many specialties there are examinations and tests. After enrolling in a university, foreigners need to open a student visa and apply for a residence permit in Belgium.

Medicine in Belgium

The Belgian health care system is deservedly considered one of the best in Europe. Like in most developed countries, Belgium has public and private medical insurance. Most services are free, but patients usually pay a portion of the costs associated with dentistry, inpatient care and pharmacological products (prescriptions). Many Belgians supplement their public insurance with private insurance to cover the full range of medical expenses.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in Belgium in 2022 is 81 years, with men living about 79 years and women 84.

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