Belgium is known for its vibrant expat community, but although foreign nationals make up almost one in ten (8.3%) healthcare workers, this is far below other sectors.
Overall, the intake of foreign workers has increased by 33% over the last seven years and in Brussels, one in three workers are not Belgian. Yet in terms of national diversity, healthcare trails behind other sectors, according to HR company Acerta.
The findings are based on analysis of 39,000 workers in the healthcare sector. "There are several reasons why the share of non-Belgians in healthcare remains below the average compared to other sectors. Linguistic and cultural differences play a greater role here than in other areas," explained Laura Couchard, HR expert at Acerta.
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"In addition, most jobs in the sector require a specific degree, and certifications obtained outside the European Union must be homologated."
Diversity is healthy
Most of the EU citizens working in Belgium's healthcare sector come from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland and Romania. The most common non-EU nationalities found in Belgium's hospitals, rehabilitation centres and care homes are Moroccan and Congolese.
"More workers of different nationalities in our healthcare sector is a good thing for logistical development. Labour shortages lead healthcare institutions to recruit staff beyond national borders."
Citing the diversity of nationalities and cultures that are found in Belgium, Couchard added that "there is a very clear need for many healthcare institutions to reflect the diversity found in wider society."