Resettlement: 273 refugees have arrived
In 2015, Belgium agreed to resettle 300 refugees on its territory: 225 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and 75 Congolese refugees in Burundi. Most of them arrived in Belgium between October 2015 and January 2016. 14 Syrian refugees have yet to make the journey from Lebanon.The profiles of the resettled refugees are set out by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), based on priorities issued by Europe: vulnerable refugees, families with children, etc.The Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) was responsible for the 2015 selection of refugees resettled in Belgium. In addition, representatives from Fedasil met the Syrian refugees on site, prior to their departure, to inform them about their future life in Belgium. The journey from Burundi and Lebanon was organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and facilitated by the Belgian Embassies in both countries.Support in Belgium In general, the resettled refugees stay in a Fedasil reception centre between 3 and 6 weeks. They then move into individual housing provided by one of the 41 volunteer Public Social Welfare Centres that have responded to the government's call since early 2015. In the event that such housing cannot be found, the refugees are accommodated in individual housing that is part of the Fedasil reception network. Furthermore, the refugees receive support for at least a year from one of the programme's two NGO partners: Convivial and Caritas International. Resettlement operationsResettlement involves selecting and transferring refugees from a country where they have sought protection to a third country which has previously agreed to grant them the right to permanent residence. This measure offers a solution to those who cannot return to their country of origin but can no longer benefit from sufficient protection and have no local integration prospects in the first reception country.Belgium is in the third year of its resettlement programme. This is the second year that Belgium has resettled Syrian refugees but also the first year that the number of resettled refugees is as/so high (100 refugees in 2013 and 2014). The reason for this is the urgency imposed by the ongoing conflict in Syria and the EU's appeal to its Member States to take in more refugees.Belgium will also resettle other refugees in 2016, including an additional 250 Syrian refugees whose upcoming resettlement was announced in 2015. Most of these have already been selected and are awaiting transfer to Belgium.