Citizens set to propose own bill on migrant regularisation in Belgian Parliament
For the first time since the option was created in 2020, Belgian citizens have collected enough signatures to propose their own bill in the country's federal Chamber of Representatives. The citizens' initiative In My Name will defend its own proposal on the regularisation of undocumented migrants in the Chamber on Tuesday afternoon.
Belgian citizens have been able to petition and collect signatures through the Chamber's petition platform since the end of 2020. At least 25,000 signatures are needed to actually propose a bill in Parliament, including at least 14,500 from the region of Flanders, 8,000 from the Walloon region and 2,500 from the Brussels Capital Region.
"This shows how much support there is for a more structural solution to our crippled asylum and regularisation policy"
The citizens' initiative mechanism is an extension of an old but unknown Constitutional article that allows any citizen to petition a government and be entitled to a response in most cases. The success of the petition platform remained very limited, however. According to initiators, its practical barriers are too high. The citizens' initiative In My Name is the first that was able to collect enough signatures to be able to present their proposal in Parliament.
In My Name is a collaboration of three collectives of undocumented migrants, citizens and organisations that aims to make regularisation policies "less arbitrary". The collectives managed to collect 35,000 support signatures. "This shows how much support there is for a more structural solution to our crippled asylum and regularisation policy," says Wouter Hillaert of In My Name.
In My Name's proposal includes the creation of an independent appeal commission and a set of transparent criteria entitling to regularisation, such as the impossibility to return, a form of vulnerability or long-term anchorage in Belgium. On Tuesday, the collective will screen the Chamber committee session live on a big screen at the Justice Building in Brussels.
The Chamber of Representatives of Belgian Federal Parliament, Brussels © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS