"Asylum seekers start queuing at 4AM"

Last week Maggie De Block took over as the new asylum secretary replacing Theo Francken whose Flemish nationalist party left the government.  Ms De Block has done the job before so she hit the ground running.  Under Theo Francken no more than 50 asylum seekers could be registered per day.  Ms De Block immediately relaxed this ceiling.  This was expected to ease the situation, but in practice this is not exactly the case.

Charlotte Vandycke of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, an ngo that defends the interests of refugees, says: "Long queues still remain outside the registration centre Klein Kasteeltje in Brussels.  Chaos still reigns.  I am asking Ms De Block to manage the situation as a crisis."

The daily quota may have gone, this doesn't mean that there is now room for everybody.  Sometimes everybody is admitted.  Other days some people are turned away.

On Wednesday only 50 people willing to register as asylum seekers were admitted.  

Charlotte Vandycke: "The new minister has ditched the quota, but it's taking some time before the service can be reorganised to take account of this.  This still hasn't happened" she told Bruzz. "There's no communication about opening hours.  Doors open and close at random. Today people started queuing at 4AM. It's a lottery.  Action is needed.  People are turned away after hours.  This creates a lot of frustration."

A crisis management should lead to swift measures and possibly more staff being deployed.  According to the ngo accommodation needs to be expanded so more people can be registered more quickly. People in the queue should be told more quickly whether they will be admitted to prevent people who have queued for seven hours from being turned away.

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