2021 Annual report

Fedasil 2021
2021 was marked by a new reception crisis. Occupancy in centres for asylum seekers increased throughout the year.

Fedasil has published its 2021 Review. The number of asylum applications registered in Belgium returned to the level observed before the coronavirus crisis. 20,211 applicants received a place in the Fedasil network during 2021. This is an increase of 68% (or 6,566 people) compared to 2020.

Almost 30% of the people who entered the network were Afghan nationals, mostly young adult males or unaccompanied minors (UMs).

Reception network under pressure

In addition to the increase in arrivals, Fedasil also recorded a decrease in departures from centres due to the extension of the duration of asylum procedures (and therefore the length of stay in the reception facilities). The number of people accommodated by Fedasil increased throughout 2021.

In this context, Fedasil has sought to rapidly increase its reception capacity so it can offer accommodation to everyone entitled to a reception place. Around ten collective centres have opened their doors. By the end of 2021, the network comprised 30,000 reception places - up from 28,000 places at the beginning of the year.

 “This was the third reception crisis we have faced since 2015, and it came during a specific period marked by the management of a health crisis”, says our director general Michael Kegels. “These successive crises have demanded a lot from our organisation and our dedicated employees. Many efforts were required each time. The underlying cause of these crises is that the reception network, and the asylum chain as a whole, cannot cope with sudden increases in influx.”

“As an organisation, we are pleased that in July 2021, the federal government decided that Fedasil will have 5,400 buffer places in the future. This package should put us on the road to greater stability. This will allow us to focus on our other critical challenges, namely improving the quality of the reception offered to residents and enhancing the well-being of our staff”, adds Michael Kegels.

This review presents the events and statistics for 2021 regarding reception, resettlement and voluntary returns. It is available in English (PDF version only), French and Dutch.