No bottleneck: Belgian minister proposes Parliament to merge asylum and migration services

State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V) called for a merger of the asylum and migration services in Belgium. That plea came after an audit of the competent services, which she presented in the federal parliament this Tuesday 4 October.

Within the domain of asylum and migration, the Immigration Office (DVZ), the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) and Fedasil should merge into one service, while the Council for Immigration Disputes (RVV) should remain independent. This is the conclusion from an audit that was carried out at the request Moor and which was presented in the House this Tuesday.

Four services in Belgium are responsible for steps in the asylum and migration chain: the DVZ arranges and monitors residence in Belgium; the CGRS assesses asylum applications; Fedasil works on the reception service and the Judicial Council for Immigration Disputes.

The audit, which was conducted by Capgemini, points to several pain points. The lengthy file sees a lack of personnel at the Interview Service at the Immigration Office, which leads to bottlenecks in the system, but there are also too few Protection Officers at the CGRS, for example. The transfer times are too long, as is the processing time of files.

Therefore, the fragmentation causes a loss of time, because the services have to consult each other continuously. This is also difficult due to the lack of digitization. This increases the administrative burden for services that are already suffering from major staff shortages.

For the rest of the legislature, De Moor wants to work on a blueprint for a future, overarching asylum and migration service. She is convinced that a fundamental reform will ease the pressure on the asylum system.

"That may sound revolutionary, but it is actually a logical step. The division of tasks is sometimes illogical today," said de Moor to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen.

According to the State Secretary, there is also willingness among the staff for such a merger of the services. De Moor is now working on a blueprint, but also wants to take measures in the short term that will benefit efficiency and a more flexible personnel policy.



© BELGA PHOTO (JONAS ROOSENS) State Secretary for Asylum and Migration policy Nicole de Moor at a session of the chamber commission for Interior Affairs, Wednesday 21 September 2022 at the Federal Parliament in Brussels.

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