Working asylum seekers must pay to stay in asylum centres

Asylum seekers who work must contribute to the cost of their reception in Belgian asylum centres. This was confirmed on Tuesday by the cabinet of outgoing state secretary for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moor.

The contribution that working asylum seekers have to pay depends on their income. For example, a person earning 900 euros net per month pays a contribution of 222.25 euros. Those earning more than 1,500 euros net pay 50 per cent of their income.

Asylum seekers must declare their income to their reception centre. If they fail to do so, they will have to pay a higher contribution later. If a person continues to refuse to pay the contribution, the centre can decide to reduce the services provided or, as a last resort, exclude them from reception.

Staff and residents have been informed in recent months of the rules, which came into effect on 1 July, De Moor's spokesperson said. An accessible brochure has been produced for asylum seekers, companies have attended information sessions and employers have received a letter with information.

The possibility of making asylum seekers pay contributions for their reception has been in the law since 2011. De Moor got a law passed at the end of the legislature to make the system work in practice.

There are around 10,000 asylum seekers in Belgium working on short- or long-term contracts.



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