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Resettlement

Resettlement in 2017

In 2017, 1,309 refugees arrived in Belgium in the frame of the resettlement programme: 1,191 Syrians coming from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and 118 Congolese coming from Uganda.

History

Since 2013 Belgium has a structural resettlement programme, which means that our country offers every year protection to a number of vulnerable refugees. Since this date, 2,335 refugees have been resettled in Belgium, among them 1,985 Syrian refugees and 315 Congolese refugees.

  • 2013: 100 refugees, a vast majority of Burundian and Congolese refugees staying in camps in Tanzania and Burundi;
  • 2014: 34 refugees (Syrian refugees from Turkey);
  • 2015: 276 refugees, a vast majority of Syrian refugees from Lebanon and Congolese refugees from Burundi; 
  • 2016: 452 refugees, a vast majority of Syrian refugees from Lebanon and Turkey; 
  • 2017: 1,191 Syrian refugees from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and 118 Congolese refugees from Uganda;
  • 2018 (until 9 February): 130 Syrian refugees from Libanon, and 34 Congolese refugees from Uganda. 

More information

Resettlement process

Resettlement involves both national and international actors, all involved in their own way to assist the refugees.

Initially, the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) identifies the refugees who fulfill the requirements for resettlement. It then selects refugees for Belgium according to the European priorities.

In a second time, the CGRS (Office of the Commissionner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons) travels to the first reception country for selection interviews with the refugees. The refugees are selected according to the criteria in the Geneva Convention.

Prior to their departure, the refugees meet a team from Fedasil (Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in Belgium) who inform and prepare them for their arrival in Belgium. Fedasil staff is helped in this task by the IOM mission located in the first reception country.

The IOM (International Organization for Migration) organises the travel arrangements. Assisted by the FPS Foreign Affairs and the Belgian Embassies, the IOM helps reserving national and international flights, accompanies the refugees on departure and provides assistance in transit and on arrival, including helping with immigration and customs formalities.

On arrival in Belgium, the refugees submit an asylum application with the Foreigners' Office. This step is purely a formality given that their case is already known and has already received a positive opinion from the CGRS. Thus, the refugees are quickly granted a clear status.
The first reception in Belgium is managed by Fedasil, which allocates the refugees a place in the Federal reception centres of Sint-Truiden, Pondrôme, Florennes or Kapellen. During their 4-to-6-weeks stay in a reception centre, the administrative affairs are put in order (refugee statements and certificates of registration on the Aliens' register). The stay at the centre also gives the refugees direct and fast access to specialised social and medical services. Furthermore, every centre prepares a basic integration programme for these refugees.

After their stay in a collective reception center, resettled refugees are accommodated in a local reception initiative (LRI) located in a commune. They have the right to stay in it for six months. In accordance with the new reception model, these local reception initiatives are accommodations made available to recognized refugees (in this case, resettled refugees) and managed by the PSWC’s (Public Social Welfare Centres within the communes).

The PSWC managing the LRI where resettled refuges are accommodated can be eligible to relocate them outside the reception network and to assist them for a year. The PSWC becomes in that case a fully-fledged resettlement operator: it ensures the refugees’ integration support and social assistance.

Complementary support is provided by the NGO Caritas. The ultimate aim of this support is for the refugees to function autonomously in Belgian society.

Contact

For questions about the selection and the asylum procedure of the resettled refugees, please contact the CGRS via resettlement@ibz.fgov.be.
For questions about the transfer to Belgium, the reception and the integration of the resettled refugees, please contact Fedasil via resettlement@fedasil.be.