Internship concept on smart phone screen with office objects on white wooden table. 3 simple ways of internship in Belgium (Payroll Belgium).

Internship in Belgium: 3 practical ways

Are you considering posting an internship position in your company? Understandable, as there are several good reasons to do so. An intern can add great value to your business because an intern is not (always) expensive, flexible, eager to learn and enthusiastic. An intern might even become your future employee!

Internships are strictly regulated in Belgium. There is no general definition of internship so the internship must fit within one of the existing legal frameworks. To determine the legal framework, it is important to look at the intern’s specific situation: is (s)he still studying, does (s)he want to work as part of an obligatory school internship, does (s)he mainly want to gain professional experience, will the internship be (un)paid, etc. Dozens of different types of internships exists in Belgium, but we will explain the three most common ways to hire an intern below.

1. An obligatory internship as part of the educational program (unpaid internship)

What? – It is only possible in the case of an obligatory internship as part of the educational program. The educational institution determines the internship modalities (duration, assignments, termination conditions, etc.).

Allowance – It is in principle unpaid, but the employer can reimburse the actual expenses incurred by the intern (travel expenses, meals, etc.). If it concerns a student from a foreign educational institution, a paid internship is sometimes accepted.

Formalities – A three-party agreement between the school, the intern and the company must be concluded. The educational institution must file the Dimona STG ( = online declaration whereby every employment is declared to the social security authorities)  and take care of the work accident insurance.

Young employee startup workers group stacking hands at urban studio during entrepreneurship. 3 simple ways of internship in Belgium (Payroll Belgium).

2. Professional Immersion Agreement (BIS/CIP)

What? – The aim of a BIS (= professional immersion agreement) is to learn skills and competences on the job. A training contract needs to be concluded instead of an employment contract. This means that no work performances can be requested from the intern and the company does not have any authority over the intern. The focus is really on learning practical knowledge and certain professional skills. There should be a mentor to train and guide the intern in the company. The BIS can last for maximum 6 months. After the BIS internship, you can hire the intern, but this is not an obligation.

Allowance – The company does not have to pay a salary, but only a so called “internship allowance” of minimum 977.50 EUR/month for a full-time intern (amount valid in April 2023; subject to indexation). This allowance is subject to taxes, but not to social security contributions.

Formalities – The company and the intern must conclude a BIS-contract with a number of mandatory mentions, including a training plan that has to be approved by the competent authorities before the start of the internship.

At the latest on the first day of the internship, a Dimona STG must be filed by the employer. The company must also arrange the work accident insurance.

3. Student job

Aim – The student employment contract is a contract between a student and an employer by which the student undertakes to perform work in return for remuneration under the authority of an employer. The focus lies on the work that has to be done. It is therefore rather an inexpensive way to employ an inexperienced employee, than it is an actual internship focused on learning skills. The student job can last for maximum 12 uninterrupted months per employer.

Allowance – You have to pay at least the minimum salary in your sector. Student work is only subject to a low solidarity contribution (5.42% for the employer and 2.71% for the student) for social security purposes and to taxes for the student concerned as long as the legal requirements and formalities are complied with.

Formalities – A written student agreement must be concluded that contains certain legally mandatory provisions. A Dimona STU must be filed by the employer at the latest on the start date of the employment.


! Last but not least, if the intern is coming from outside the Europe Economic Area, the employer first needs to check whether the intern needs a work permit in order to carry out an internship in Belgium. In that case, additional conditions might apply as not all options mentioned above will be possible.


If you need help with your intern’s (payroll) administration after reading this article, Pro-Pay can advise you on this matter. You can use the contact sheet to reach out to them.

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