The States signing a working holiday programme are aiming to strengthen their collaboration and promote better mutual understanding, by enabling their young citizens to appreciate the other country's culture and way of life, through holidays during which they can work to supplement their financial resources.
Belgium has signed an agreement with the following countries:
- Australia (Belgian Official Gazette 06/09/2004 – Entry into force 01/11/2004);
- New Zealand (Belgian Official Gazette 06/09/2004 – Entry into force 01/11/2004);
- Canada (Belgian Official Gazette 07/12/2006 – Entry into force 01/01/2007);
- Taiwan (Belgian Official Gazette 07.03.2013 – Entry into force 29/03/2013);
- the Republic of Korea (Belgian Official Gazette 08/06/2016 – Entry into force 01/07/2016).
The conditions imposed on a participant are practically identical, regardless of the agreement.
In general, the following conditions are involved:
- being between 18 and 30 years old when the application is submitted;
- holding a valid passport;
- being in possession of a return ticket or having sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket;
- having sufficient financial resources to meet their needs during the stay;
- not having previously been a beneficiary of this regime;
- submitting a certificate showing the absence of convictions for crimes or malpractices in common law;
- submitting a medical certificate proving that they do not suffer from any of the diseases that may endanger public health;
- have taken out an insurance policy;
- demonstrating that the main purpose of the stay is a holiday.
It is recommended to read the agreement carefully, in order to be fully informed and to consult the website of the competent Belgian diplomatic or consular post in the signatory country.
Belgium requires that a participant have at least 2,500 euros (€), to cover their needs during the first part of their stay, or for the duration of their stay (for example, cash, a credit card still valid for at least one year, etc.).
The holiday should remain the participant's main goal. Work may only be done to supplement the financial resources available to the participant. Indeed, the agreements provide restrictions on the duration of an employment, training or study programme.
The participant is exempt from the obligation to obtain a work permit in order to engage in a lucrative activity in Belgium. Conversely, the provisions in force regarding working and remuneration conditions, safety and hygiene do apply. Participants and their employers must also comply with applicable social security provisions.
The participant must apply for a visa D (national long stay visa) at the Belgian diplomatic or consular post competent for the place where they habitually reside abroad. The procedure to be followed for submitting this application is explained on the post's website and/or the external service provider with which the post is collaborating (VFS Global, TLS Contact).
The list of Belgian embassies and consulates is published on the FPS Foreign Affairs website.
The participant must also submit proof of the full payment of the fee and the documents proving that they meet the conditions set out in the agreement.
The person who has received a visa D under the Working Holiday Programme must present themselves to the municipal administration of their place of residence within eight days of their entry into Belgium, to apply for their registration in the foreigners' register and the issuance of a residence permit (A card).
The authorisation to stay is valid for 12 months and cannot be renewed. A change of status during the stay will not be accepted.
In application of the regulations on maintaining population records, some municipalities will require a legalised birth certificate and a legalised certificate of unmarried status. It is therefore recommended to travel with these documents.