Asylum seekers who exhaust legal remedies must leave reception centres sooner

To reduce pressure on Belgium’s asylum reception centres, the length of time a person can remain at a centre will be reduced, La Libre writes on Saturday. 

Asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies will now have to leave a shelter no more than 30 days after a final negative decision. Until now, they have been able to begin other procedures at that point, such as applying for regularisation, and stay longer. On average, people remain in a reception centre for a further 100 days.

People whose applications are rejected will be issued with an order to leave the country much more quickly than in the past. As it does now, federal asylum agency Fedasil will provide support to prepare people for a voluntary return to their country of origin.

The new measure should free up about 1,000 reception places, said state secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor, of Flemish Christian democrats CD&V.

Temporary solution

Earlier this week, De Moor announced that the federal government would temporarily house asylum seekers in five budget hotels and two reception centres in Brussels. 

She intends to take over the contracts the Brussels government agreed with the sites at the end of 2022, which expired on 17 June. The federal government will pay for and manage this capacity directly with Fedasil and the Red Cross, until the end of the year. There are currently 728 women and children staying at these sites.

“Today, families with children and single women are staying there who would otherwise be out on the streets,” De Moor said. She hopes to get approval from the federal Council of Ministers for the measure by 5 July.

"The real solution is to ensure that fewer people arrive"

Using hotels is not a sustainable solution and the government is not creating new reception places, she told VRT’s De Ochtend. 

“The real solution is to ensure that fewer people arrive. That is what we are going to do with the European migration pact: finally ensure stronger European borders,” she said. “Whatever we do to accommodate people here, it will never be enough until fewer people arrive.”


State secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (right) holds a press conference at a conference on the European Asylum and Migration Pact, Ghent, 30 April 2024 © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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