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Two thirds of Belgium’s foreigners are from the EU

11 February 2005

BRUSSELS – Some 68 percent of foreigners living in Belgium are from other EU countries, it emerged on Friday.

The figures from the National Statistics Institute (INS) also showed Brussels has almost twice the amount of foreigners than Wallonia and Flanders put together, La Derniere Heure newspaper reported.

Some 5 percent of the population of Flanders is non-Belgian, compared to 10 percent in Wallonia, with most living in the old industrial provinces like Limbourg, Antwerp, Liege and Hainaut.

In Brussels, almost a third of the population is foreign – some 28.5 percent.

The INS figures record the number of officially registered foreigners at the end of 2004.

They show out of a population of 10,200,000, there are 860,287 non-Belgians – an official foreign population of 8.4 percent.

Illegal immigrants and foreigners who have adopted Belgian nationality are not included in the tally, nor are many foreigners who are waiting for permission to stay in Belgium – a figure believed to total around 100,000.

The number of EU citizens registered has climbed, as a percentage, since 1 May 2004 when another 10 countries joined the EU.

However, foreigners from the old EU member states still greatly outnumber the newcomers.

The Italians are still the biggest single foreign population in Belgium at 183,021, followed by 114,943 French and 100,700 Dutch.

The Spanish community totals 43,802, the German 35,530, the Portuguese 26,802 and the British 26,183.

The Greeks number 17,096 while the Poles number 11,570.

This selection of EU foreigners includes a significant proportion of expats, many of whom work for large international firms, businesses linked to the European Union institutions or in the Union’s institutions themselves.

Among the non-Europeans, it is the Moroccan community which is the most numerous, making up 0.9 percent of foreigners – a total of 81,763 residents.

Turks come second, making up 0.5 percent of foreigners, with 41,336 residents.

The number of Moroccans and Turks who  are registered in Belgium is falling, due to the high numbers of residents who are assuming Belgian nationality.

Around 8,000 Moroccans and 6,000 Turks become Belgian every year.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news