No room at asylum reception centres

According to a report in Tuesday’s edition of the daily ‘De Morgen’, Belgium’s reception centres are once again unable to cope with the flow of asylum seekers. Last month, 244 asylum seekers ended up on the streets as there was no room to accommodate them in any country’s network of asylum reception centres.

According to the newspaper report, the situation was at its worst at the beginning of last week with no fewer than 78 people being turned away on 25 July. This compares to 69 yesterday.

The federal agency responsible for dealing with those that have applied for asylum in Belgium, Fedasil says that the high number of asylum requests and delays in making a decision on cases that are being processed have served to clog the system.

In short, too many people are being admitted to the asylum reception centres, while too few people are leaving them.

During the first half of this year 11,574 people applied for asylum in Belgium. This is around as many as in the whole of 2006 or 2007. At the same time, the goal of working through at least 1,500 cases a month is not being reached.

For example, a decision was reached on just 1,250 cases in June.

The spokesman for the federal Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Philippe Courard (Francophone socialist), Waut Es, told the VRT that there has been an increase in requests for asylum in Belgium.

Furthermore, the holiday period means that fewer cases are being dealt with as many members of staff at the Asylum Agency are on vacation.

"The high influx is not decreasing and the current global situation isn’t helping.”

“In addition, few people are leaving, as many of those working at the agencies involved in dealing with asylum seekers are on holiday.”

Three army camps will be used as temporary reception centres until next May to help ease the situation.