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Daily limit on asylum requests putting more refugees on the street
Since last Wednesday, the Immigration Office in the centre of Brussels has limited asylum requests to 50 to 60 a day. The new policy was announced by migration secretary Theo Franken last week.
According to the office, people begin lining up at about 5.00. The office opens at 9.00, and the first 50 in the door are assured the ability to register as an asylum-seeker. They are immediately found housing in an asylum centre.
Those who are turned away – according to the office, a few dozen a day – have nowhere to go and end up in parks and transport stations, most notably nearby North Station. Then they begin to line up at the Immigration Office early the next morning.
Police are present to keep things orderly, but the generally mood is being made more grim by the priority policy. Families and women get priority in the line, and so many of the same people miss out getting into the office every day.
Francken said that he wanted to “send a clear signal” to human traffickers “that Belgium isn’t the land of milk and honey”. Most traffickers are currently bringing in refugees from Palestine. The office used to handle some 100 requests for asylum a day.
Photo courtesy VRT