Long-stay visas reach record-high

The number of long-stay visas for economic reasons issued in Belgium has risen sharply in recent years, surpassing levels seen before the pandemic. The number of short-term visas has yet to rebound.

In most cases, non-EU citizens looking to enter Belgium need either a short-stay (C) visa for a period of up to 90 days or a long-stay (D) visa for more than 90 days.

On Wednesday, the Federal Migration Centre Myria said in its annual report: "The number of applications for long-stay visas has been increasing since 2020, even reaching a level higher than before the start of the health crisis."

More economic migration

A total of 53,946 applications for long-stay visas were made last year, up by 60 per cent compared to 2020. More than 37,000 applications (8 per cent) were granted, while entry was denied in 8,720 cases (19 per cent).

Excluding 2020, the number of long-stay visas granted to people from Morocco, Turkey and Palestine has been rising. The number of visas issued to Syrians and Afghans had risen in recent years but fell in 2022. Most long-stay visa applications were given for family migration (43 per cent), followed by student migration.

The category that accounts for the third-largest number of long-stay visas, economic migration, has shown a clear upward trend since 2021. The report showed that the number of such visas granted to people from Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia almost doubled between 2021 and 2022.

Humanitarian migration

Just 1 per cent of visa requests for economic migration were refused, compared to 24 per cent for student migration and 22 per cent for family migration. However, the most significant number of visa refusals were in "humanitarian migration" cases, given to resettled refugees and Afghans who arrived after evacuation operations following the Taliban regaining power. Almost half of the humanitarian long-stay visas granted last year were granted to people from Afghanistan.




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