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 application for international protection 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 6-to-7-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 programme for these refugees including language lessons.

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.