Home Travel & Adventure Belgium Sees Surge in Foreign Healthcare Workers Over Past 2 Years

Belgium Sees Surge in Foreign Healthcare Workers Over Past 2 Years


The number of foreign workers in healthcare in Belgium has surged by 23 per cent compared to two years ago and 63 per cent compared to a decade ago, recruitment company Acerta has revealed.

More specifically, one out of every ten healthcare workers in Belgium is of foreign origin, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Sabine Goossens, an HR expert at Acerta Consult, said that it is remarkable how the number of foreigners in healthcare keeps rising despite barriers of language, culture, and diploma.

Despite all these barriers, we still see an increase in the share of non-Belgian employees in the healthcare sector. Nursing and healthcare remain shortage professions, and so it is of the utmost importance for healthcare institutions to look beyond national borders to find the right talent and thus cope with the labour shortage.

Sabine Goossens, HR expert at Acerta Consult

However, another significant observation noted by Acerta is that many non-Belgians work in healthcare, especially with regard to worker status.

In fact, 23 per cent of healthcare workers are from a different country. Meanwhile, for white collars, the share is only nine per cent. Acerta attributes this difference to language barriers.

Workers often perform tasks less directly related to care, such as cleaning, kitchen duties, or technical services. Here, language, culture, and qualifications play a much smaller role, resulting in a higher proportion of non-Belgians among healthcare workers.


Regarding EU countries, the highest share of foreign healthcare workers in Belgium are from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland and Romania. Meanwhile, regarding non-EU countries, the most representative are Morocco, Congo, Turkey, Cameroon, and Rwanda.

Meanwhile, in terms of all sectors, the countries most represented are almost the same as those in the healthcare sector:

  • EU (France, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria)
  • Non-EU (Morocco, Türkiye, Congo, Afghanistan, and Ukraine)

Goossens further noted that Ukrainians do not rank in the top five nationalities in healthcare when compared to all sectors. According to her, language might be a key factor in this case.

Now that more Ukrainian war refugees indicate that they want to stay in our country, which means they are focusing more on learning the language, we can certainly look forward to the evolution of the representation of Ukrainians in healthcare.

Sabine Goossens, HR expert at Acerta Consult

Acerta further observed that while there has been a rise in foreign workers within the healthcare sector, the numbers seem to stagnated in other sectors. Specifically, Belgium experienced a 0.8 per cent decrease in foreign workforce across all sectors.

According to the same source, the data includes information from over 360,000 employees at 29,000 private sector companies. Among them, 36,000 work in healthcare.

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