BELGA/DOPPAGNE

Record number of refugees lose protected status

The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGVS) decided to lift the protected status of 217 refugees last year, a record high. 

The 217 decisions apply to persons who could pose a danger to Belgian society, or refugees committing fraud or travelling back to their home country. The number used to be situated between 60 and 70, to climb to 182 in 2017. But last year set a new milestone. 

Dirk Van den Bulck of the CVGS confirmed the hike, but added that "compared to the total number of refugees receiving this protected status, it is not much. (...) We look into each case that is being reported to us. Not all allegations turn out to true. Sometimes it is claimed that a person tries to go back home, while it turns out this is not true." 

The increase can be explained by a new law about the definition of "posing a threat to the country" (theis definition has become wider, e.g. after being convicted). At the same time, The former Asylum Secretary Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist) made sure data are being exchanged more swiftly if it turns out that a refugee is trying to get back to the home country.