If your company is solid and flourishing in the domestic market, it offers the opportunity to take the plunge and enter a foreign market. Of course, there are a number of issues to consider, both in terms of opportunities and risks.
Last year, we entered the Belgian market ourselves and experienced for ourselves what needs to be paid attention to. In this blog, we share some tips for anyone considering entering the Belgian market.
1. Understand the language and culture
As a Dutch company, it seems easy, because in Belgium they speak Dutch. However, there is also a large part that is French-speaking. It is therefore important that agreements are made regarding the language of communication.
Moreover, the fact that a large part of the company speaks the same language does not mean that there are no cultural differences. Belgians, for example, are often more modest than the average Dutchman. Keep this in mind when making appointments, phone calls or deals.
2. Read up on Belgian legislation.
Without a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations of the foreign market, you can easily damage your company's reputation. Some important tips about laws and regulations that many temping agencies have to deal with:
3. Apply for a temporary employment permit.
To be able to employ temporary workers in Belgium, a Dutch company needs a so-called 'recognition'. The deployment of workers is not permitted without an approval.
To obtain a licence for a temporary employment agency, Belgium has divided the labour market into three types of activity: temporary employment in the construction industry, in the artistic sector and in other sectors.
For each type, a separate approval must be applied for, which must be paid for once. In addition, Belgium is divided into three regions: Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. A temporary employment agency must activate a separate accreditation for each region. A deposit of €75,000 must be paid to the Social Fund separately for each recognition. This deposit is indefinite and will be refunded after 5 years after your activities in Belgium have stopped, provided no unforeseen costs occur.
4. Make sure your infrastructure is in order.
Just as you have ensured that you can be reached by your Dutch clients and candidates, you must also ensure that this is the case for Belgians. So make sure you have a Belgian number where you can be reached. Also make sure that your website has a Belgian version, with a French translation, so that you do not miss out on any potential customers/candidates because of a possible language barrier. This of course also applies when you use an application or software platform.
If you are considering entering the Belgian market with your company, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!