Belgium approves implementation of European Entry/Exit System for migrants
On Wednesday, the relevant Belgian Chamber Committee approved the introduction of the European Entry/Exit System (EES) for migrants in Belgium. "This will allow us to know immediately from everyone staying here who is staying longer than allowed," said state secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor
The so-called EES system is an electronic registration and control system at the borders of Schengen countries for migrants wishing to stay in the European Union for a short period of up to 90 days. Next to their passports, migrants will now have to give up their biometric data, fingerprints and a facial scan upon arrival. Those who fail to do so will be refused entry to the EU.
This information will be kept in a new European database accessible to all member states. The Belgian Immigration Office will thus know when someone stays for longer than is allowed. Biometric data will also make it much more difficult to travel with a fake passport.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 190,000 people came to Belgium on short-stay visas every year. In reality, that number is much higher, according to the state secretary. Many third-country nationals can travel to the EU without a visa. Those coming to Belgium without a visa are currently not registered, and only a small group of short-stayers report their stay to the municipality.
© Hans Lucas / AFP