The Royal Decree of 6 February 2003 describes postdoctoral fellows as foreigners who hold a doctoral degree or equivalent qualification, who receive compensation for scientific research and who – in the framework of international mobility – successfully complete a fundamental research project at a host university, with the intention of valorising the scientific knowledge they acquired over the course of their doctoral studies. This research may be conducted for a maximum period of three years.
Postdoctoral scholarships are tax-exempt in Belgium, in accordance with Royal Decree/WIB 92.
With respect to social security, the Royal Decree of 26 March 2003 equates postdoctoral fellows with employees.
All postdoctoral fellows from non –EEA countries that have concluded bilateral social security treaties with Belgium are subject to full social security contributions. The employer’s contribution is 35.25% and the personal contribution is 13.07%. In exchange for these contributions, postdoctoral fellows are entitled to medical insurance as employees, they are covered by the industrial accident and occupational illness law, they receive family allowance and unemployment and pension benefits.
All other non-EEA postdoctoral fellows are subject to partial social security contributions. The employer’s contribution is 23.84% and the personal contribution is 4.7%. In exchange for these contributions, postdoctoral fellows are entitled to medical insurance as employees, they are covered by the industrial accident and occupational illness law and they receive family allowance. However, they are not entitled to unemployment and pension benefits.
Since 1 April 2003, postdoctoral fellows no longer need a work permit (Royal Decree of 6 February 2003). The law of 21 April 2007 explicitly regulates entry to EEA territory and the residence of researchers from outside the EEA. They may obtain an authorisation to reside on the grounds of the hosting agreement concluded between the university and the researcher.
Otherwise, the KU Leuven Regulations Concerning Postdoctoral Fellows in the Framework of International Mobility (in Dutch) are in effect.
This form concerns researchers who hold a doctoral degree or have demonstrated extraordinary scientific merit and who conduct research at KU Leuven in the framework of international mobility for a period of (minimum three months and) maximum three years.In the event that the researcher obtained his/her doctoral degree at a Belgian university, there is no question of international mobility and in consequence, no postdoctoral scholarship can be awarded. The same applies if he/she has resided in Belgium or has conducted his/her primary activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 24 months in the three years preceding the beginning of his/her status of postdoctoral fellow. Brief visits and stays (such as holidays, participation in conferences or brief stays for the preparation of a stay as a postdoctoral fellow) are not taken into account.
- With respect to the Belgian government, they have the status of postdoctoral researcher in the context of international mobility. These researchers only have the right of residence in Belgium if they have received authorization for provisional residence (visa type D) in the country where they legally reside, and are registered in the foreigner's registry upon arrival in Belgium (BIVR, or white identity card). Thus, they must request an authorisation for provisional residence from the Belgian embassy or consulate in the country in which they legally reside. To this end, the applicant must provide: a valid passport, a letter of appointment to a postdoctoral fellowship, a proof of financial means, a certificate of good behaviour and a medical certificate. It is recommended to begin this procedure at least three months before departure for Belgium. The Human Resources Department co-ordinates all administration in this regard.
- They have the status of postdoctoral fellow in the framework of international mobility and are members of the Junior Academic Staff (BAP). They have no ties of legal employment with KU Leuven and they cannot performs tasks on the request of scientific supervisor or third parties.
|Fiscal status||Scholarships are tax-exempt if the following conditions are met:
conducting scientific research activities of exceptional merit;
the researcher has ample possibilities for taking personal initiative with respect to advancing or conducting his/her research;
the researcher is completely independent of the scholarship provider;
there is no direct or indirect financing through a Belgian or international industrial, commercial or agricultural company that may benefit from the research;
the researcher travels to KU Leuven in the framework of international mobility.
|Social security contributions||No bilateral social security treaty: partial social security contributions – employer’s contribution: 23.84% and personal contribution: 4.7% (cf. article 3b of the implementation order of 28 November 1969 concerning social security).
Bilateral social security treaty: full social security contributions – employer’s contribution: 35.25% and personal contribution: 13.07%.
|Scholarship amount||The applicant determines the scholarship amount. Herein, he/she is bound to salary scales. The Executive Board, however, has stipulated a minimum and a maximum monthly net scholarship amount. The minimum is currently (01.01.2010) 1,850 euro net/month, while the maximum is 2,500 euro net/month. A higher amount may be allocated on the condition that it is motivated and approved by the executive committee of the relevant scientific group.|
Researchers do not need a work permit on the condition that they conclude a hosting agreement with KU Leuven.
- Accident and third party civil liability: as employee
- Health insurance: required registration with a Belgian health insurance company as an employee
- Insurance for personal third party civil liability: optional, but recommended.