Judge convicts asylum agency, Fedasil must provide care

The Belgian asylum agency Fedasil has been taken to court by over a score of people eager to apply for asylum here and with success.  In recent weeks the agency that is supposed to organise care for asylum seekers has been convicted several dozen times.

Coronavirus means the registration office is closed and asylum seekers have to make an appointment online, but it can take several weeks before that is sorted.  Meanwhile, the would-be asylum seekers end up on the streets.

The registration office at the asylum centre Klein Kasteeltje in Brussels closed. Would-be asylum seekers have to make an appointment online and qualify for lodging and board from the minute the immigration department sends them an invite.  Unfortunately, getting your invite can take many weeks.

A judge has now ruled that would-be asylum seekers who end up on the streets run the risk of catching coronavirus and Fedasil must provide care from the minute they identify themselves as would-be asylum seekers, even if they can’t be registered immediately.  The same verdict has been made in at least a score of cases since 26 June reports the daily de Standaard.

The refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen hopes that the convictions result in action. “We’ve been raising this matter since March, but have repeatedly hit a wall” says Charlotte Vandycke.  “We welcome efforts to protect staff, but the procedure with online appointments isn’t working: the threshold is too high and people end up on the streets for weeks”.

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