I wake up the next morning and receive a text from a friend asking whether I fancy joining them for a New Year’s Eve party. With a glass of wine in one hand and my phone in another hand I bump into Dominic, who looks at me with curiosity and asks me what kind of questions I am looking to be answered. His girlfriend is visiting for a week, but that doesn’t stop him enthusiastically talking about his experiences in Val Thorens and abroad.
That same evening I meet Tine, at the bar of a hotel. She’s working as a receptionist and offers me a conversation, a cocktail and a big smile. When she shares her life story I become so engrossed I lose all track of time.
When I drive up to my friend’s house that evening, I meet his roommate. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my accommodation with 28 year old Max. It’s his second season as a ski man and his eagerness to learn and climb the ladder strikes me above all.
The next day is my first day on the slopes and so I pick up my gear at a snowboard and ski shop Prosneige. Conveniently, they also offer classes to a newbie who is clueless as to what to do with two sticks and a bunch of snow. I get the chance to have a chat with Eric, who is a boot fitter for the shop. Essentially, he examines and measures people’s feet. Boot fitters match the shape of the foot to a specific boot shell, volume, and flex pattern that will correspond to people’s skiing ability. They’ll then scan your foot to create a custom foot bed that will help align your stance.
That question came to my mind when I first visited Val Thorens. I could never imagine why anyone would agree to a shabby wage, working ‘flexible’ hours (which means practically 10 hours a day) and not being able to spend time with family and friends for months. I drove 11 hours to Val Thorens in France, the highest ski-resort in Europe to find seasoners or ‘saissoniers’, to ask what about life here is so special they would come back every year.
A little over a year ago Belgium implemented the EU Single Permit Directive for non-EU citizens seeking to work in Belgium for more than 90 days. The Single Permit, combining both work and residence authorization into one document issued through a single application procedure, represented an important step forward. However, substantial challenges continued to be faced by the business community due to lengthy procedures and lack of legal certainty.
In March 2019, a Law was published in the Belgian State Gazette introducing a new income tax reporting and a tax withholding obligation for all Belgian employers with regard to remuneration paid or granted by a foreign company linked to the Belgian employer.
We’d hoped January’s Brexit vote would finally deliver some clarity, but alas, nothing has changed. We find ourselves no closer to an answer than when ‘the people spoke’ back in the 2016 referendum. What is clear however, is that we need to prepare as best we can. As the withdrawal date of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) is approaching, many companies are becoming increasingly worried about the impact this will have on their workforce and business in general.
Our two largest cities, Brussels and Antwerp, are the only two Belgian cities to feature among Europe’s top 50 economic centres. Brussels is our major gateway for international finance, investment and institutions, while Antwerp is our major port city with specialisms in logistics, manufacturing, diamonds, retail and business services. Each has its own unique strengths, but how do they compete on a global scale? And what exactly is it that is it that makes a city competitive?
Our two largest cities, Brussels and Antwerp, are the only two Belgian cities to feature among Europe’s top 50 economic centres. Brussels is our major gateway for international finance, investment and institutions, while Antwerp is our major port city with specialisms in logistics, manufacturing, diamonds, retail and business services. Each have their own unique strengths, but how do they compete on a global scale? And what exactly is it that makes a city competitive?