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New plan to restrict family immigration

Published on 08/12/2005

8 December 2005

BRUSSELS — The federal government is to tighten family migration regulations by sharpening the pre-conditions applied before foreign partners are allowed to enter Belgium.

A spokesman for Interior Minister Patrick Dewael said on Thursday the minimum age requirement will be lifted from 18 to 21. This will apply to both the Belgian resident and their foreign partner.

The second amendment will lengthen the amount of time from one to three years that foreign marriages will be subjected to checks aimed at preventing fraud or fake marriages.

He also said the Belgian national or partner must have sufficient means of support, such as an adequate income or stable job if they wish to bring the ethnic partner’s parents or grandparents into the country.

Belgium’s plan to raise the minimum family unification age follows similar legislation in the Netherlands, which has also sharpened its immigration laws in recent years.

It also comes amid reports Dutch nationals are being advised by immigration lobby groups to bring their foreign partners into the Netherlands via Belgium to bypass the country’s restrictive laws.

The Interior Ministry spokesman said the aim always is to harmonise immigration laws across the EU. The Belgian legislative proposals will be lodged in the national Parliament within the next six months.
Meanwhile, the federal government is also moving to change asylum procedures, reducing the timeframe applied to asylum request from EU nationals to five days.

Asylum seekers from Eastern Europe and EU candidate countries Romania and Bulgaria will be most affected. However, the assumption that human rights are not violated in those countries will be applied.

By applying a five-day maximum, the asylum requests can be quickly rejected, the asylum seekers will not gain government financial support and will be deported back to their land of origin.

An appeal will be possible, but that will not suspend their repatriation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news