Italians make up the largest nationals in Belgium
New government figures show figures and ranking of foreign nationalities living in Belgium.10 April 2008
BELGIUM - New Belgian government figures show that Italians form the largest group of foreign nationals living in Belgium. The Polish are the nationality that is growing fastest in Belgium at the moment.
Most foreign nationals hail from European Union nations.
Over 900,000 people are foreign nationals in Belgium, forming about 8.5 percent of the total population.
There are over 175,000 Italians in Belgium. Their share in the total number of foreigners has fallen slightly. French nationals make up the second largest group followed by people from the Netherlands.
There are 25,000 British nationals in Belgium, over 11,000 Americans.
Moroccans and Turks form the largest groups of non EU citizens in Belgium. There are about 80,000 Moroccan nationals and nearly 40,000 Turks. The Congolese community (13,000) is Belgium's third largest group of non EU nationals.
The figures dating from 2005 show a big surge in the number of Romanians and Russians, an increase of around 35 percent.
A shifting picture
In the 1990's, nine percent of Belgium's population consisted of foreign nationals.
Since 1995, the number of foreign nationals in Belgium fell, reaching a low of 8.21 percent in 2001.
Since then, figures have once again been on the rise.
The decrease coincided with a relaxation of the procedure foreign nations need to undergo in order to acquire Belgian nationality. In addition, the Belgian authorities encouraged foreign nationals living here to apply for Belgian citizenship.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Belgium also introduced an amnesty for foreigners living here illegally.
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]