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Relocating to Belgium

KU Leuven offers a welcoming environment for international staff and their family

KU Leuven offers a welcoming environment for international staff and their family

 

A welcoming environment

About 20% of all KU Leuven staff members have a foreign nationality and a much larger amount can be called ‘international employees’ in the sense that they are internationally mobile and operate in a highly international environment.

KU Leuven and by extension the whole region of Leuven - with inititiatives such as Leuven Mindgate and the International House Leuven - are thus very well set to welcoming foreign employees and their families. As an international member of our professorial staff, you will for example get an invitation for an individual welcome meeting at the HR department and you can join the monthly welcome sessions that are organized for all international staff.

Working at KU Leuven as an international staff member might imply that you will consider to permanently move to Belgium. KU Leuven offers its international professors support with various aspects of this relocation process. Our aim is to make you and your family feel welcome at KU Leuven and in Belgium, and to help you settling in and integrating as soon and smoothly as possible. Support to travelling spouses and children is seen as an essential part of our welcoming and integration efforts.

Partner career support

We realize that moving to Belgium will often even have a bigger impact on your partner. He/she might not have the perspective of a new career opportunity in Belgium yet, and while you will soon have social contacts at work it might take a while longer before your partner has built out his/her own social and professional network in Belgium.

In addition to our brochure (pdf, 305 kB) with information about the job market in Belgium and how to search for a job, we therefore also organize a Career Coaching Programme for Partners (pdf, 392 kB), consisting of five half-day workshops. The workshops are organized annually or bi-annually, depending on the demand.

Support with registration and immigration duties

Our HR consultants for international staff will screen your immigration obligations, and those of your family. We will give you specific information on whether and how to apply for a work permit, visa, and how to change your domicile to a municipality in Belgium.

Support with social security and tax obligations

Based on a short checklist, we will investigate in which country you will be entitled to social security and in which country you will have to pay taxes. You will receive individual information on the social security and tax implications of your employment at KU Leuven, and on the practical steps to take to make sure you are covered by social security and in line with tax obligations.

In addition, we frequently organize information sessions to explain about social security, the health care system in Belgium, and the personal income tax system in Belgium and how to fill out your Belgian tax declaration form.

General information on social security in Belgium: Website Federal Public Service Social Security

Housing

KU Leuven has its own Residential Area to assist with temporary housing for international staff, the Groot Begijnhof. In two of the KU Leuven Student Housing Residences, Rega and Waterview, studios and appartments are also available for staff to rent at a moderate price.

More temporary and permanent housing alternatives can be found here, together with general information on renting or buying a property in Belgium.

Childcare and schools

For small children (0-3 years, pre-school phase), KU Leuven has several daycare centres. If you would be looking for childcare in Leuven as a new international member of our professorial staff, please contact us to find out more about the possibilities of reserving a spot for your child in one of these childcare facilities.

From the age of 2,5 to 18, children in Belgium go through preschool (2,5-6 years, not compulsory), primary school (6-12 years) and secondary school (12-18 years). Education in Belgium, both in publicly owned and privately owned schools, is considered of very high quality (see for example the OECD Pisa results). Information on local schools in the neighborhood of Leuven can be found here. Several schools organize special support for incoming students whose mother tongue isn’t Dutch.

Leuven also has its own international school for pre-primary and primary education with an English-taught curriculum, the International School of Leuven. All international KU Leuven staff members receive a 10% discount off the annual tuition fee.

KU Leuven also offers home care for sick children and holiday childcare for children up to 12 years.

Social and cultural activities

Within KU Leuven, several initiatives are taken to help international staff members to build out a social network. The International Contact Club organizes social activities and cultural trips for international staff and their family members and Pangaea is our intercultural meeting centre where international and Belgian students and staff can get together. KU Leuven also hosts an English-speaking university parish and has several multireligious (prayer) rooms on its campuses.

Learning Dutch

The Leuven Language Institute organizes Dutch courses for international staff members and their partners. For professors, these courses are free of charge.

Relocation allowance

In some cases, (part of) the moving expenses for you and your family can be reimbursed by KU Leuven. Please contact us to inquire about the possibilities.

For extensive information regarding travelling to and living in Belgium, please also visit our International Staff website.