LIMOSA to give it its full title ;Landenoverschrijdend Informatiesysteem Migratie Onderzoek Sociaal Administratie, is a Belgium government initiative which was set up to prepare the country for the opening up of the labour market for workers from the new EU Member States which occurred on May 2009. It is an important consideration for those using contracting in Belgium and selecting an umbrella company.

It was first introduced mid 2007 and was originally intended for the wave of immigration from the Eastern EU countries especially those manual workers who work for cash though it also includes obligations for Belgium enterprises using foreign agency workers. Registration is only required for those who are not a resident in Belgium before taking up a contract. This means that an individual has registered for an ID Card at the local Commune and receives a tax return.

Its operations are managed by the National Office for Social Security ( Office National de Sécurité Sociale/Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid, ONSS/RSZ) and the Crossroads Bank for Social Security (Kruispuntbank van de Sociale Zekerheid, KSZ)

In practice, when taking up a contract in Belgium this means that you must provide a Limosa Certificate or its equivalent to the client or your agency.

The LIMOSA system comprises has web-based applications that are also used by agencies and their clients to ensure compliance and registrations can be made this registration can be done electronically through LIMOSA, which supports several languages, including Dutch, French. German and English. And, this user friendly format often means that contractors proceed and register without fully considering their options.

It might seem a worthwhile option if you are working via your own non Belgian Limited Company to continue to do so when contracting in Belgium. Citizens of EU member states can elect to remain within their home country social security system and to make regular voluntary payments by obtaining a form A1 (formerly known as an E101) from their local social security office before leaving to take up a contract in Belgium. They are still required to complete a Limosa declaration and to produce both the A1 and Limosa Certificate to their agency or to their place of work.

A contractor may potentially fail LIMOSA registration, or be unable to set up legally without being able to demonstrate that they have professional skills. In practice this means that you have a minimum university degree, or equivalent level of education. GCSEs or A Levels will not suffice. So it is not always easy to make the transition.

You may potentially be exempted from the mandatory Limosa declaration in certain circumstances.

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