Over the last six years the number of posted workers in Belgium has risen by 38% to 229,000 employees and independents, according to University of Antwerp research.
The flow of temporary workers from abroad has doubled over the past decade.
According to the authors of the study, “detached” staff form the largest group in labour migration.
However, contrary to the idea that this type of work is usually linked to social dumping, employers’ motivation goes beyond the cost issue, according to Professor Ive Marx.
“Labour market shortages are just as important,” Marx said. “For example, half of the posted workers come from Member States in Western and Southern Europe, where wages are higher than in Eastern Europe.”
“The type of sectors that use posted workers also shows that labour cost is not the main reason: even if construction and transportation are the largest employers, we also find areas such as metal, alimentary and petrochemical. These sectors recruit on a large scale posted staff with highly qualified technical profiles.”