More repatriations after a fall in 2014
In 2014, after a dip in the number of illegal immigrants being repatriated, the number went up again during the first two months of this year.
An article in Tuesday’s edition of the daily De Standaard stated that during 2014, 2,586 illegal immigrants were repatriated to their countries of origin. This was the lowest figure in four years and well down on the 3,167 repatriations in 2013.
The Aliens Office (DVZ) says that the number of repatriations fell due to a shortage of place in the secure centres in which illegal immigrants are placed ahead of their repatriation. This in turn was due to renovation work being carried out at the centres as well as to a shortage of staff.
Secretary of State Theo Francken says based on figures for January and February that the number of repatriations is on the up again. Mr Francken told the paper that “480 people were repatriated during the past two months. This is 20 percent more than the 400 people that were repatriated during the last two months of last year. Let’s hope that this continues to rise”.
The Secretary of State is also keen to stress that he has only been in office since 11 October 2014.
"We have reached a turning point. Repatriation is the keystone of our asylum policy. Voluntary repatriation if possible, forced repatriation if necessary with the emphasis on sending back criminals”.
Mr Francken also said that extra funding would be made available. He also hopes that charging for residence permits will raise between 8 and 10 million euro to help pay for “a more efficient system of repatriation.”