Nicolas Maeterlinck

No board and lodging for asylum seekers who flout the rules

The Belgian asylum and migration secretary Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) has decided that asylum seekers who don’t follow the procedures will no longer receive board and lodging. Ms De Block says that this could open up up to 300 reception places a month and that these are places needed by people who do follow the procedures.

Asylum seekers who have applied and obtained asylum in another EU state but then travel on to Belgium to apply here will no longer receive board and lodging. Often these asylum seekers are motivated by more generous social provisions available here.

No board and lodging will be available to people who don’t apply for asylum in the first EU state they encounter, but move on to Belgium where they do apply for asylum.  Under the Dublin Convention asylum seekers like these should be returned to their country of arrival in the EU.  Under the same rules people who travel on to Belgium from a first EU state can apply for asylum in Belgium after six months.  Until now they too qualified for board and lodging but this will now end.

The decision’s been taken to ease pressure on asylum facilities.  Ms De Block says: “We must offer protection to those who really need it and act against those who abuse the system.”

Asylum seekers who no longer qualify for board and lodging will receive support if they wish to return to their first port of call in the EU. Every case will be judged individually and health factors will be taken into account. An awareness campaign designed to explain the rules to asylum seekers is planned.