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 India
- Population: 11.5 million
- Capital: Brussels
- Main language: Dutch, German, and French
- Emergency phone numbers: 112
- Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz
- Currency: Euro
- Euro to Indian Rupee: 1 Euro = ~85 INR
- Embassy: Chau. de Vleurgat 217, 1050, Ixelles; https://indianembassybrussels.gov.in/
Finding Housing in Belgium
Many migrants and expats are surprised to learn that, in Belgium, rental contracts can have long terms, some even up to 9 years! Short-term rental contracts are usually three years or less, so it’s still possible to find a place for a shorter period of time. What’s also different in Belgium as compared to many other countries is that tenants are responsible for the general maintenance of their dwelling, like repairs and upkeep, instead of the landlord.
When you start looking for an apartment, you should also be working on your budget. If you’re not sure how, our budgeting for migrants series can teach you what goes into a budget, how to divide your income, and how to create your own personal budget so that you have a range of rent prices to look for that are comfortable for you. When it’s time to start searching for a place, there are some common websites locals and expats like to use in Belgium:
Finding Work in Belgium
Belgium is home to the UN and EU regulatory bodies, making it a hub for internationals from all corners of the world. With so many internationals, it’s very possible to find work primarily in English to cater to their needs. That being said, depending on where you end up living in Belgium or the industry you work in, it can be a bit more challenging to find work as a foreigner because of the language difference. Brushing up on your language skills is even more tricky when there’s more than one local language, and in Belgium, there are three. So, once you’ve figured out which area of Belgium you’ll be moving to, it’s a good idea to try and learn some of the local languages there. Then, you can use these websites to start looking for work:
Using Public Transportation in Belgium
Since Belgium is so small compared to many other European countries, getting around using public transit is quite easy and efficient. There’s actually only one transit card you’ll need, the MoBIB card, which can be used to purchase tickets and travel around the country. You’ll find multiple transportation options almost everywhere in Belgium, like buses and trams, coaches that go between cities, a train system to get around the entire country, and even metro systems in larger cities.
Send Money to India From Belgium
Since you probably moved to Belgium to find better jobs and build a better, more financially secure future for yourself and your family back home, knowing how to send money back is probably a priority. The good news is that you don’t need to rely solely on banks to do this anymore, you can actually find online banking services for migrants that help you manage your finances abroad. Rewire is one such service that helps you transfer money to India quickly and with low fees. You can also use this money management tool for other services, like getting a free prepaid debit card to use in Europe, or to send money within Europe for free if you need to transfer funds to a friend or family member who’s also living abroad.
If you’re searching for ever more tips on managing your finances abroad, we’ve got some ideas on how to manage your money as a migrant in Belgium.
Moving to a new country is hard, but you can take comfort in knowing that many other expats and migrants before you have done it and found success. Planning and researching in advance is a great way to help you manage expectations and ease into the transition, and so is networking with your Indian migrant community in Europe to find helpful tips and recommendations for moving to Belgium.