Immigration Office has to refuse hundreds of refugees

The Immigration Office in Brussels saw a record number of almost 700 people queuing up on Monday morning to file an official application as asylum seeker. Some 220 newcomers could be helped, together with 20 people that had been refused on Friday. The others will have to wait at least one day. 200 will have to come back on Tuesday, 200 on Wednesday and 60 on Thursday.

The Immigration Office is too small to cope with the high numbers of refugees. Safety limits apply to the capacity of the entrance hall, while the number of civil servants dealing with the applications can only handle about 250 applications per day.

The number of people that can't be helped, is growing every day as a result. As the Immigration Office was closed during the weekend, a record number of refugees had assembled at the entrance near the North Station. Police are even talking of 1,000 people before the doors opened at 8am. This number also includes people that are not filing an application, but keeping others company while they wait.

The government has promised to increase capacity numbers. The first 4 new employees will arrive tomorrow. In the longer run, 60 to 70 new staff will be hired, but the procedures are taking time.

The help organisation 'Dokters van de Wereld' (doctors of the world) set up a unit to provide medical help to newcomers.