Government stepping up fight against residence permit fraud

The federal government is going to tackle the practice of fake parenthood used by immigrants to get a residence permit. When civil servants have any doubts, they will be able to postpone their decision or just deny the application.

"First we tackled bogus marriages, next fake co-habitation contracts and now fake parenthood", explains the State Secretary for Asylum, Theo Francken (nationalist). The latter applies to men who claim they are the father of a minor, in order to obtain a residence permit in Belgium.

When the local administration has any doubts, the civil servant will have more opportunities to postpone the case and demand further research, or to refuse the application. It will be up to the parents then to prove they are actually the biological parents.

The number of instances where people can file their application will also be reduced, to avoid that people try their luck in several places. Justice Minister Koen Geens (Christian democrat) says "there are still too many reports of children being used to obtain legal documents. This should put a halt to this. Parents who can show they have a social or biological link with the child, have nothing to fear."