Belgian asylum secretary Francken argues that the figure is the result of a set of agreements to take in nationals concluded with countries like Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria, Iraq and Somalia.
The number of places at repatriation centres where people are housed ahead of their repatriation has been expanded from 400 to 600.
Mr Francken is particularly happy with the headway that has been made in expelling criminals. Other people repatriated included many failed asylum seekers: "We had a large influx of asylum seekers in 2015. 50,000 arrived here. Many of these dossiers have now been dealt with. Around half are accepted as refugees. The others are instructed to leave the country."