Judge obliges Belgium to immediately receive asylum seekers …

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The Belgian state has been convicted because asylum seekers who register online via the Immigration Office do not receive immediate reception. The French-speaking court of first instance for interim relief in Brussels is now giving the state thirty days to rectify the situation.

The Flemish Council for Refugees announced this on Tuesday, which together with various other organizations, such as the French-speaking Ciré, had initiated the case.

Since the beginning of April, asylum seekers must request an appointment with the Immigration Department (Immigration Department) via an online form if they wish to apply for asylum. Then they will receive an email. Only after that appointment can they go to the application center. But between completing the online form and the appointment at the Immigration Department, they do not receive any reception, even if they are entitled to it, says Refugee Work.

On the street

In practice, days, weeks and sometimes even months pass before they receive care, it sounds. In recent months, asylum seekers have already successfully enforced reception through the courts.

The Flemish Refugee Service says that, together with the other organizations, then State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Maggie De Block (Open VLD), Fedasil and Immigration Affairs, it has repeatedly been called to account since the start of the corona crisis that hundreds of people end up on the street because of this situation. Because a solution was not forthcoming, they officially declared the Belgian state and Fedasil in default. That eventually led to Monday’s conviction.

Penalty

The judge obliges the Belgian state to take the necessary measures so that asylum seekers will receive reception as soon as they register online. It gives the state thirty days for this, after which a penalty of 2,500 euros will apply for each day of delay, with a maximum of 100,000 euros. An appeal is possible against the decision, although the appeal does not have a suspensive effect: the judgment is enforceable provisionally.

The cabinet of the new State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi (CD&V), says in a short response that the verdict has been served today / Tuesday. ‘We are going to work with the services to see what the result is and how it can be followed up,’ says spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere.

‘Quota’

According to the Flemish Council for Refugees, the current system in practice amounts to an asylum quota. ‘The number of asylum applications per day is limited in function of the capacity of the Immigration Department and Fedasil. This is not only contrary to the right to reception, but also to the right to apply for international protection. The current reception network is under pressure due to years of poor management and ill-considered phasing-out policy by the competent state secretaries, ‘it says in a press release.

The organizations filing the case demand that the government immediately “stop the policy now declared illegal by the court and immediately provide shelter to people who make clear their need for protection through the online form.” “Belgium must pursue a reception policy that is based on the rights of people on the move and that respects European and Belgian law,” says Refugee Work.





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