Demand for end to 'arbitrary' asylum policy
21 April 2006, BRUSSELS — A thousand protestors demonstrated in Brussels on Friday in support of the estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants living in Belgium.
21 April 2006
BRUSSELS — A thousand protestors demonstrated in Brussels on Friday in support of the estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants living in Belgium.
The protestors demanded the federal government relax its immigration laws for official residency.
Illegal immigrants and supporters gathered at Brussels Central at 9.30am. They then symbolically marched to the Congress Column (Colonnade of the Congress).
The protestors fear that it will become more difficult in future to gain official residency for illegal immigrants.
They demanded an end to the "arbitrary" decisions being made by Interior Minister Patrick Dewael and the immigration service DVZ-OE over applications for the regularisation of illegal immigrants.
Both the minister and immigration service were accused of making decisions without revealing the criteria on which they are based.
Some of the protestors have been occupying various churches across the country in recent weeks.
Liberal VLD Minister Dewael was to unveil a new asylums policy to the federal Cabinet on Friday.
The proposal involves granting asylum seekers a definitive answer to their asylum request within one year. They will be given only one chance to appeal.
The Socialist PS has demanded in exchange, clear criteria for rejected asylum seekers who will nevertheless come into consideration for regularisation.
Up until now, the minister has decided independently on regularisation requests.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news