1,309 refugees resettled in 2017

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In 2017, Belgium resettled three times more refugees than the previous year. Most of them are Syrians but a group of Congolese also arrived in Belgium.

In 2017, 1,309 refugees arrived in Belgium in the framework of the resettlement programme. 9 out of 10 refugees are Syrians who fled the war in a neighbouring country of Syria, the others are Congolese refugees from Uganda. The 1,309 refugees are distributed as follows:

  • 721 Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey;
  • 299 Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon;
  • 156 Syrian refugees who fled to Jordan;
  • 15 Syrian refugees who fled to Iraq;
  • 118 Congolese refugees who fled to Uganda.

These refugees were hosted in Fedasil reception centres for a few weeks before moving to another commune. For a maximum of eight weeks, they had the opportunity to live in a local reception initiative (LRI) managed by a Public Social Welfare Centre (PSWC) and made available to recognised refugees.

Preparation and integration

Before their departure, the refugees meet co-workers of the Belgian asylum and reception authorities. They first have interviews with co-workers of the CGRS who prepare the individual cases. The aim is for refugees to be recognised as soon as possible after their arrival in Belgium.

Afterwards, co-workers of Fedasil reception centres meet them to inform them about the next steps and to prepare them for life in Belgium. In 2017, Fedasil went to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and for the first time in Uganda. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) supports these meetings and prepares the travel to Belgium. 

After their arrival in Belgium, the refugees first stay in a reception centre where Fedasil co-workers pursue the information sessions and prepare them for reintegration.  

The refugees are then hosted in a LRI for a maximum of eight months. The PSWC of the LRI can propose to offer an additional support for at least a year. This way, the PSWCs work towards the integration of refugees and become partners of the Belgian resettlement programme.

2,171 refugees resettled in 5 years

Since the launching of the programme in 2013 and until 31 December 2017, a total of 2,171 refugees arrived in Belgium in the framework of the resettlement programme, among which 1,855 Syrian refugees and 281 Congolese refugees.

In 2018, Belgium intends to resettle 1,150 refugees: Syrians, Congolese and refugees of the Central Mediterranean route. Check the news on this topic.