Number of pre-accommodation places back to 1,000

The Asylum Secretary Theo Francken (N-VA) has announced that he wants to lift the number of beds in the so-called pre-accommodation centre in WTC III back to 1,000. The first extra 150 or 200 beds on the top of the present 500 should be made available today, he said.

The pre-accommodation places are meant for people that have to wait before they can apply for a residence permit at the Belgian Immigration Office (DVZ) that can hardly cope with the daily arrivals of new people. Beds are available in the nearby WTC office building, in the area close to the Brussels North Station.

Capacity was boosted to 1,000 in recent weeks, but was reduced to 500 later on. However, problems popped up with demand exceeding supply two days ago. This was because the Immigration Office had kept its doors closed for the long All Saints weekend. It was impossible to apply for a residence permit for 3 days, which triggered long queues again at the DVZ.

The 500 beds that were made available in the process a couple of weeks ago, were used for asylum seekers that had completed their application. They will now be transferred to other reception across the country as more space was made available elsewhere.