Foreign nationals allowed to perform volunteer work

A draft law allowing foreign nationals to perform volunteer work in Belgium has been approved by the Belgian Senate on 10 December 2009.

So far, only foreign nationals exempt from requiring a work permit, such as EU nationals, were legally entitled to perform volunteer work in Belgium. Other foreign nationals were required to be in possession of a work permit to volunteer. However, a work permit is not usually granted for unpaid activities.

When this new law enters into force, every person legally residing in Belgium, with the exception of individuals who are not legally allowed to stay for more than 3 months on Belgian territory, will have the opportunity to volunteer.

Criminal sanctions will be implemented to fight against excessive use of volunteering. The new law also explicitly states that the performance of voluntary activities does not confer any right to be authorised or allowed to stay in Belgium.