Foreign students and researchers increasingly likely to stay in Belgium to work

Foreign students and researchers who come to Belgium to study are increasingly likely to remain in the country for work after graduating, according to figures released by state secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor.

In 2021, Belgium introduced a "search year visa" that allowed non-European students one year to look for work or start a business after finishing their studies. The same visa was granted to researchers in 2023.

According to de Moor, 1,927 foreign students or researchers applied for the search year visa in 2023, 28 per cent more than in 2022. The number of applications for combined permits - a document that entitles someone from outside the EU to both stay and work in Belgium - rose from 2,478 to 2,811, showing that in many cases those on a search year visa find work during that period.

Every year, about 10,000 non-EU foreigners come to Belgium to study and approximately 1,000 come as researchers.


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