Moving to a new country in search of work and better opportunities? Relocating can be both exciting and scary, but being prepared for what to expect is a good way to get yourself grounded somewhere new. Rewire’s relocation guides are meant to help you with the essential information you’ll need to get started in a new country.
Belgium: Quick Facts for Migrants from The Philippines
- Population: 11.5 million
- Capital: Brussels
- Main language: Dutch, German, and French
- Emergency phone numbers: 112
- Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz
- Currency: Euro
- Euro to Philippine Peso: 1 Euro = ~57 PHP
- Embassy: Av. Molière 297, 1050, Ixelles; https://brusselspe.dfa.gov.ph/
Finding an Apartment in Belgium
Some rental contracts in Belgium, especially in Brussels, have longer terms, so don’t be surprised if you’re offered a contract with a 9-year term or longer. A short-term rental is typically three years or less, so you can look for an apartment with a short-term tenancy if you don’t want to sign something long-term. Unlike in other countries, tenants have more responsibilities in Belgium, such as general upkeep and maintenance of the apartment, which typically falls on the landlord elsewhere.
Before starting your apartment hunt, the first thing you should do is prepare a budget so you know how much of your income you’re able to devote to rent. Our budgeting for migrants series has some helpful tips on what goes into a budget and how to create your own. When your budget is set and you’re ready to start looking, here are some websites you can search on:
Finding Work in Belgium
Belgium can be a tricky country to find work as a foreigner particularly due to the language there. There are three main languages in Belgium, and since most residents are multi-lingual, if you don’t have good language skills to offer, it can be difficult to find work. That being said, since it’s home to the UN and other European regulatory bodies, there are tons of internationals there from all over the world, it’s definitely possible to find a job primarily in English. Still, once you know which area of Belgium you’ll be relocating to, try and pick up some of the basic local language to increase your chances of getting hired. When you’re ready to begin your job search, head over to these websites to start browsing job postings:
Getting Around Belgium
Belgium is a pretty small country, so even without a car, it’s easy to get around using only the public transportation system. Because of that, there’s one card, a MoBIB card, that you can use for all transportation across the country, no matter which company you travel with. There are many buses and trams you can use to get around cities easily, and coaches that travel between cities along with regular buses as well. In Brussels, there’s also a metro system and a tram system which makes getting around even more convenient. Finally, Belgium has an extensive train system which is the quickest option for getting around the country.
Send Money to The Philippines From Belgium
A majority of the migrants leave The Philippines and go to Belgium or other European countries to seek out better work opportunities to support their families back home. So, it makes sense that one of the first things you want to do when relocating is to figure out how to transfer money back home. The good news is that you don’t need to go through a bank or transfer bureau, you can do global money transfers entirely online. A lot of Filipinos around the world turn to Rewire to help them manage money abroad. Rewire offers an international money transfer service to send funds back home, as well as free European IBAN accounts, SSS payment services, and a lot more.
Looking for more ways to help manage your finances? We’ve got some suggestions on how to manage your money as a migrant in Belgium.
To Wrap Up
Finding work and an apartment in Belgium might take a little extra effort as compared to some other European countries, but that definitely doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Before you relocate, set aside some time to do some research and advance planning and you’ll find the transition a lot easier.