We originally came here because of my wife, so we thought we'd do the same process than we did before and just request a reunification visa for myself. However, this turned out to be a really bad idea. First of all, it took around 3-4 months for me to get the reunification visa and be able to move in with Gretel and second, I wasn't allowed to work with such a visa because she was officially a student. I'm not sure if this is the case only in Belgium or in the entire EU, but it's such a badly designed system and I hope they change their minds at some point.

So in the end I ended up getting a sponsorship from a company just like I did in Switzerland and Germany. The main difference is that in this case I could only get what is called an "A permit" or "single permit", because I don't have a university degree. My understanding is that the single permit work is limited to the company that is sponsoring it, which means that I cannot do freelance work, or switch to a different company without them having to do some sort of process to sponsor me.

I had to renew the single permit for the first two years. The one I currently have is for three years and after the five years I could apply for a permanent residence permit.