More than 33,800 people are currently staying in asylum reception centers and more than 35,000 submitted an asylum application in 2023 to be recognized as refugees. In other words: the shelter is overcrowded and the asylum services have to work overtime to process all applications.
“The asylum procedure is for those fleeing war violence or persecution, not for those who want to do better economically”
State Secretary Nicole de Moor
A new fast-track procedure that comes into effect today should ensure that the files of asylum seekers coming from countries whose recognition rate is so low end up at the top of the pile and are processed within 50 days. An example: in 2023, 1,238 Congolese, 986 Moldovans and 911 Georgians applied for asylum in Belgium, but only a small proportion actually needed protection. Only 14% of Congolese and 10% of Georgians received residence papers. Not a single Moldovan was recognized. Asylum seekers from so-called ‘safe countries’ – such as Albania or Kosovo – also end up in this procedure. In total, approximately one tenth of the applications will be processed more quickly. By processing these files up to three times faster, places should also become available more quickly in the shelter. This group currently occupies more than 2,840 shelter places. After a negative decision, they will receive guidance to return to their country of origin.
“The asylum procedure is for those fleeing war violence or persecution, not for those who want to do better economically,” State Secretary De Moor responds. “We must make that distinction quickly so that people are not unnecessarily in the asylum procedure or reception. That approach also has a dissuasive effect.”