Migration secretary wants mandatory civic integration for migrant workers
State secretary for asylum and migration Nicole de Moor has proposed a series of measures to better protect migrant workers. Among other things, she advocates mandatory integration courses, saying that people who are integrated are better able to exercise their rights.
The number of combined work and residence permits issued in Belgium is increasing rapidly. Last year, 9,543 permits were granted, compared to 5,124 in 2021. However, De Moor (CD&V) said in a press release on Friday that recent cases such as that of chemical company Borealis, where dozens of foreign workers were found to be employed in poor conditions at a site in Kallo, East Flanders, show that the combined permit is sometimes abused.
“Workers sometimes become victims of abuse or find themselves in a very dependent position, which makes them afraid to report abuses,” she said. “By providing better protection for workers, we counter that abuse. Moreover, we also combat unfair competition from rogue employers who do not play by the rules.”
"Workers sometimes become victims of abuse or find themselves in a very dependent position, which makes them afraid to report abuses"
De Moor wants to improve the protection of those workers and has put a number of measures on the table of the Interministerial Conference on Migration and Integration, which brings together the federal government and the regions. While migrant workers are currently exempt from civic integration, she wants to make it compulsory.
Additionally, foreign workers who are victims of infringements by their employers and have their employment stopped by the inspection authorities will be given 180 days to find a new job, up from 90 today.
State secretary for asylum and migration Nicole de Moor © PHOTO BELPRESS