Registration of Ukrainian refugees “chaotic”

The Flemish refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen says the registration and reception of Ukrainian refugees in Belgium is chaotic and difficult.

Long queues of people waiting to enter the registration centre in Brussels materialised again on Tuesday.  The office of the Belgian secretary of state for asylum and migration says that people who have been given a reception place don’t need to register immediately.

Ukrainian refugees arriving in Belgium bypass the normal asylum procedure.  They qualify for protection and the appropriate status.  The first 90 days they can travel freely across the EU.  People eager to receive temporary protection as a refugee and an A card need to register. The registration process is being centralised at the former Jules Bordet Hospital in Brussels.

Police figures suggest up to 2,000 people were queuing yesterday – the same number as the previous day.  Only 806 Ukrainian refugees were registered on Tuesday.

“Our teams outside the building witnessed little guidance.  Provision of information to people in the queue was patchy too.  People queued for hours without information or water” says Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen.

The office of the Belgian secretary of state for asylum and migration says people have 90 days in which to register – a period in which they can stay in Belgium without a visa.

Over a third of the people who registered yesterday were still in need of a reception place. Accommodation is provided following registration.

“Our first priority is to give people in need of a reception place emergency accommodation” says the department.

Meanwhile the government is looking for a bigger site where refugees from Ukraine can be registered.

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