The future is close. Brussels is yours.

Expanding

From specialist incubators and state-of-the-art research institutions to flexible authorities and productive partners, Brussels is the perfect place to expand your life science business.

How can Brussels help you achieve your goals?

The growing life sciences sector

The life sciences sector in Brussels is a vibrant ecosystem, buzzing with new ideas, projects and achievements. The ecosystem supports and accelerates start-ups and scale-up companies, promoting collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas.

Flourishing partnerships between international companies, hospitals, private labs, research institutes, health funds (ziekenfonds / mutualiteit), chemists and doctors benefit everyone involved and helping to increase direct employment in the sector by 50% from 2000 to 2013 (National Social Security Office).

“Belgium is in the top 10 of the most innovative pharma valleys worldwide.” Nature, 2010

How can Brussels help you?

The entire life sciences ecosystem is supported by the Brussels Capital Region. Thanks to our long experience with the sector, we know what companies need and want in order to achieve their ambitions, helping encourage further growth in the sector.

As an example, consider the importance of speed in the R&D lifecycle. When you first get your research idea, you can contact the local authorities (Federal Agency for Medicines & Health Products (FAMHP)) for assistance (if required). You’ll discover their international reputation for being flexible, open for new ideas and making fast decisions is well-deserved – as demonstrated by Belgium’s position as number 2 in Europe for clinical trials (clinicaltrials.gov, FAMHP, pharma.be).

Every year over 500 clinical trials applications are submitted by the biopharmaceutical industry in Belgium (12% of the European total), with applications being processed and approved quickly before over 170,000 patients participate in phase 2 and 3 trials. This is especially important as getting recognition for your life science medicine or medical technology by one European agency, means it’s recognised across Europe (clinicaltrials.gov, FAMHP, pharma.be.

Find out how Brussels can help you realise your future ambitions. Contact us.

FAQ Frequently asked questions

EU Citizens:

All European Union citizens and citizens of the European Economic Area can live and work in Belgium without formalities and a work permit. EEA includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Non-EU citizens:

Non-EU citizens wishing to be employed in Belgium need to apply for a work permit and be legally resident in Belgium to work here (See the Invest in Brussels Guidelines for details).

Non-EU citizens wishing to be self-employed in Belgium need a professional card to practice their profession.

Work permit types

Belgium issues three types of work permits: AC Permit - valid for one year for multiple employers (typically for migrant agricultural or domestic workers); G Permit - not renewable; A/B Permit - valid for one employer for one year; renewable, typically by the same employer for the same position.

Corporate tax on profits is currently set at 33.99%. This will be reduced to 25% starting 2019 for big corporations. For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the corporate tax rate will be fall to 20.4% on the first bracket of euro100.000 of net taxable income from 2019 and will be 20% from 2021.

Personal income tax in Belgium is based on a progressive rate of taxable income, ranging from 25% to a maximum rate of 50%. To reduce taxable income, a wide range of deductions is possible.

Administrative and professional staff are paid monthly. Most employees receive a 13th month additional salary payment every year and double holiday pay, equivalent to 89% of the monthly salary. Salaries are inflation-adjusted.

Employees can also be remunerated in ‘in-kind benefits’, this reduces social security contributions tied to salary levels. In-kind benefits include company car, mobile phone, computer, group insurance, pension fund, stock options.

If you are starting a company in Brussels, one of the many payroll agencies can advise on employment contracts and help set up the payroll scheme.

Social security

Payment of social security contributions is compulsory. Professional staff and workers pay 13.07% of their gross salary to the national social security fund; employers pay 25% of the employee’s gross salary.

Belgian social security provides for unemployment benefits, pensions, sickness and disability benefits, family and child allowances, workers' compensation for accidents and healthcare.

To estimate employment costs for a company you are creating, see belgiumtaxcalculator

The future is close. Brussels is yours.

What does this mean for you?

The future is close. Brussels is yours.