Refugee centres turn away asylum seekers

4th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

The overcrowded open asylum centres in Belgium have to turn away an average of 50 asylum seekers on a daily basis.

4 September 2008

BELGIUM -- The open refugee centres in Belgium are overcrowded and have to turn away an average of 50 asylum seekers on a daily basis, according to the daily Het Belang Van Limburg.

Since October 2007, the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) has reported problems of housing asylum seekers in Belgium.

The situation has become more problematic as asylum seekers have to be turned away.

"The numbers are rising every day,” says Fedasil spokeswoman, Mieke Candaele.  
"We ask people to look for a solution themselves- whether it's staying with family or friends, or we try to offer them alternatives. We ask them to come back the following day, in the hope that we can find something more suitable for them."

A new Asylum Seekers Act which was enforced on 7 May 2007 stipulated clear rules on the reception of asylum seekers.

The two main changes that were instituted are: material support during the entire asylum procedure and the introduction of a reception in steps. In principle, asylum seekers should be given shelter from the very first day they file their request.

Fedasil is asking asylum centres to create more space by using vacant buildings as a temporary measure. It also requests that asylum seekers who have valid papers to leave the asylum centres within two months in order to create space for the newcomers

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For more information on the Federal Agency of Asylum Seekers, visit the Fedasil website.

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