Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Belgium's asylum crisis: an overview

protesting against expulsions of asylum seekersImage via Wikipedia
Source: Gazet Van Antwerpen

By John Dewit

[Google translation]

Fedasil, the service receives asylum seekers, put an hour on strike 18 November to protest against the staffing problems at the service. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers became known later this year over 27,000 will come true. The Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs in October devoted a major debate on the asylum crisis and the Senate did week 25 November. State Secretary for Migration Melchior Wathelet (CDH) is also preparing a reform of the asylum law, but as long as the government's pending cases, is difficult. A state of affairs.

Fedasil, the service responsible for the reception of asylum seekers, today put an hour on strike because the staff contracts expire on December 31, the staff do not know if their job is extended. The department also wants more staff to cope because the number of applicants ever increasing. The service wants all day Monday ek down tools. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers swings through the roof. The situation is so dramatic?


End of October, the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA) all 15,837 asylum applications within this year. In 2010, 20,000 asylum certain questions submitted. But only 13,160 cases that application so far for the first time submitted. As an asylum application represented an average of 1.3 persons will in 2010 more than 27,000 people sought asylum in our country. Of these, about 22,000 people "new".

These people are mainly from Kosovo, Iraq, Russia, Guinea and Afghanistan. Secretary Melchior Wathelet (CDH) therefore points out that the collective regularization did not knock. "These countries are very different than the countries from which the regularized come. The countries of origin of asylum seekers are states where really serious political problems and all our onmringende countries have an increase in the number of asylum seekers. Regularisation was no knock" so he promised to MP Filip De Man (VB), this declaration at any laughter.

Multiple applications for asylum seekers mainly of Afghans, Russians and Iraqis. Since 1 January 2010 the government acts against such claims. A total of 892 times refused to persons who care for the third time an asylum application filed without a new element in their case was.

In Europe, only Sweden and Cyprus count more asylum applications per capita. Belgium gets three times as much per capita as the Netherlands or asylum in France and four times as much as Germany. However, this year (until end October) only 20.2% of them recognized as refugees.

Meanwhile, the backlog of services that the applications should deal with: the Commissioner General for Refugees, he is now 10 677 cases, double the number on January 1, 2009. The asylum procedure thus takes on average 13 months, including appeals, says Wathelet.

The shelters are full. In Belgium, each applicant entitled to physical care (a roof, food, health care, etc.). Before you post to Fedasil 19,561. Fedasil's budget amounts to 340 million and 430 million in 2011, almost double 2005.  But that is not enough.

During the past year had been 6,242 asylum seekers are turned away without a care. They can then either go to rich family in Belgium, or the public welfare, that they must pay the living wage. So there is always financial aid. During the asylum debate in the House fell Yvan Mayeur (PS) sharp: "The 6242 unallocated individuals to the CPAS of the city of Brussels sent as their official residence in Brussels . Our CPAS should bear the cost of all those people . This can not, there is an urgent need to get a distribution to ensure that the whole country, all municipalities, a part of the burden of Brussels bears. The law must be changed, "he said Mayeur. Matter was Bart Somers (Open VLD) agree to a distribution, but only if the applicants also effective in the municipality where they were officially reside. There is however no new distribution plan.

Applicants who do not get care, they can also judge by the requirements. The government must now for more than 300,000 euros to pay penalties and a few weeks back even became aware that a Congolese four cars and fifteen computers in Fedasil confiscation because the state had a penalty of up to 15,500 euros had not paid. The Labour Court of Brussels wanted "a signal" to the government. Unfortunately, that signal is wrong because an applicant has unallocated really care because the social services law which still gives him.  How many lawsuits pending against Fedasil this one could run two weeks after asking for it to communicate not say.

If everything is full, but then Fedasil asylum seekers away. There are now about 1,093 people. This is cheaper (36 euros) than they are in a reception (43 euros) stabbing but it arouses abroad is a very rich impression and therefore has a knock.

And finally, staying in shelters still 18% people who do not belong there, such as recognized refugees, illegal immigrants who have applied for a regularization regularized and non-residence for you. Moreover, as Secretary of State promised to Nahima Lanjri Wathelet (CD & V), are currently 368 asylum seekers from the European Union in the shelters. Belgium is the only country that EU citizens the opportunity to seek asylum.


Philippe Courard (PS) is responsible for the reception. He fears that by the end of 2010 we need at least 25,000 shelters. Courard thus seeks to create shelter.

He now has four military sites and a site of Civil Defence to rebuild it to create nearly 2,500 additional places. Bastogne, and Bierset Helchteren obtain, December 1, 2010 every 550 people, as promised Defense Minister Pieter De Crem (CD & V) in the House of Sarah Smeyers (N-VA) and Annick Ponthier (VB). EAnd Waut Es, spokesman for Secretary of State for Social Integration Philippe Courard (PS), added: "And then there are 512 in Weelde (Ravel) and 250 in Gembloux. But I want a date of public announcement. "

In addition, there are 26 million extra to the municipalities to allow for 2,000 new local care initiatives for asylum seekers (LOIs in technical jargon) to build. These are houses or apartments. Currently, one in five municipalities no LOI, but Courard would not force municipalities to do so anyway.

During the asylum debate launched Theo Francken (N-VA) the idea of the reception of asylum seekers through a public tender to the cheapest bidder to allocate. Francken said that in France it is. "The reception of asylum seekers cost in France 24.8 per day in Belgium rises to 40 per day. Fedasil's budget in two years time by 60%. An open tender would be a solution " Francken found, but not Courard replied.


State Secretary for Migration Wathelet tries to limit the influx ontradingscampagnes by organizing in the regions from which many asylum seekers come, never to be recognized as refugees, such as Kosovo and Serbia. "That we have five people. They have this year 33 assignments, so he promised. Wathelet itself the countries visited have only one month ago, but still shines in Kosovo already placed the number of asylum applications.

He also has files of asylum seekers from countries from which almost no one recognized accelerated treatment so as to curb inflows. Wathelet opposed the idea of Sarah Smeyers (N-VA) to an accelerated procedure for asylum applicants from "safe countries" to enter. "In France, this system exists, but it is still 34% of applicants from those countries recognized as a refugee. While in Belgium was only 25% of all applicants accepted, "he said the Secretary. Wathelet said that he is the asylum crisis, wants to go through a system of priority treatment: "If the number of applications from a particular country increases, we treat these cases a priority, so that faster progress and involved less time in the reception room. We do we eg requests from Kosovo and Armenia.

Wathelet to the productivity of the General Commissariat for Refugees increase. "In 2009 it handled 700 cases per month, now 876. In France the asylum procedure lasts 18 months, as he promised during the asylum debate Nahima Lanjri (CD & V).

Wathelet preparing a reform of the Aliens. The reform involves not only the asylum laws, but also other aspects. He wants to reform the mozaïekwet stop on December 6 at the chamber is made. What does he put in?
  • Illegal immigrants who, for medical reasons, like a residence permit will have to prove their identity and to demonstrate their disease. They are a standard form to fill out. That is not all that adjustments and the number of medical swings over the roof.
  • Illegal immigrants who, for whatever reason will be regularized to be domicile in Belgium. This is necessary because the government at this address them an order to leave the country can send. Now such an order to the council and have it there to pick up the illegals. But usually it does not.
  • The Board of Immigration Appeals (IRB, the institution where a rejected asylum seeker may appeal, ed) will be decisions with a simple registered letter to announce. There is no need for acknowledgment.
  • The deadlines for appeal to be the same everywhere. Now there are differences between those of the Immigration Department, the Commissioner-General of the Council for Refugees and Immigration Appeals.
  • The bodies of strangers who will decide not to all the arguments of these foreigners have to answer. It will suffice for these government bodies make decisions themselves sufficient reasons and arguments for this clear.
  • About the Board of Immigration Appeals to appeal because his asylum application was rejected, will receive immediate pay 175 euros. That exists at the Council of State and the ordinary courts and Theo Francken (N-VA) had advocated the RVV.
  • The procedure for the Board of Immigration Appeals degreased. Thus the written text (the "reply memorandum"), allowing the parties to respond to what their opponents have argued, eliminated. And there's an abridged exclusively written procedure for manifestly unfounded appeals.
  • It is possible that the RVV imposes a penalty if the appeal is manifestly unjust.

Meanwhile, the Flemish Bar Council has reacted angrily to the proposals. The lawyers do not think it possible that the obligation of the justices of the RVV is limited, nor are they to find the cause-list fees of 175 euros.


1. The actions of the government are a drop on a hot plate, they are necessary but insufficient. In ongoing cases a government may be difficult far-reaching measures. Experts such as Bob Pleysier, former boss of the Petit Château, said that the shelter will be built, is again full of non-structural measures are taken. Scientists must reduce the inflow and outflow increase.

2. Parties as the N-VA an advocate for limiting the flow through an accelerated procedure of 14 days to create "false asylum applications, which consists of a list of" safe countries "come. In France such a list exists and if the French criteria apply to Belgium, according to wipe away the N- 3533 immediately applied for refugee status from safe countries from our shelters. This accelerated procedure for the N- even if the petitioner can not cooperate to establish his identity and if the demand is clearly unfounded asylum or spontaneously (eg to an out of the country to avoid). Moreover, the party that the reception is only the first request and no further appeal.

The point remains that the divisions between the nearly 30 different procedures that a foreigner can legally use to stay in Belgium, too thin. Foreigners hopping from one status to another. They serve multiple applications simultaneously and in multiple regularization requests. All these proceedings the alien legally in the country until it took so long that he can automatically stay in Belgium. For this is unique in the administrative procedure for a legal residence in our country to get, if not handled within a certain time, the applicant is automatically right. This privilege exists in no other administrative or civil proceedings.

In order to limit the influx Aliens radically simplified: fewer procedures, only retain an asylum application, the appeal against the decisions of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons abolish the barriers between the various statutes gap. And in parallel to act against the perverse and - of course only the latter group wanted - Coalition Fedasil, idealistic lawyers and human traffickers. For how have all these foreigners who do not even know our language, but all these procedures with the judge? As lawyers who advise them. And who advises lawyers? Fedasil, under its statutory duty relief.

3. Outflow must also be promoted. Now, each year 8,000 illegal immigrants have put out of the country, 4,000 fewer than a few years back, as Bart Somers (Open VLD) said during the migration debate. This decline in the number of expulsions has many causes:

Deportation proceedings, after Semira Adamu's case difficult. There are too many potential legal action and too many opportunities so you can disappear in nature, as we see families with children in illegal (see here);

Deporting asylum seekers from the European Union makes no sense, because they come back anyway;

Europe limits the possibilities greatly, and especially the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg his book there is strong outside, such as Marc Bossuyt, Chairman of the Constitutional Court, recently demonstrated (see this);

Some expulsions have even a knock, because the illegally even more money to get them home.

A drastic simplification of the immigration laws and a stricter application loom up, if our country's social services affordable and feasible to keep. The current policy, according to a study by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Racismebstrijding also has no support among the population. Two out of three residents of Belgium (natives and immigrants) think that our country "full" is. It is time to change tactics.
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