Summary Ad-Hoc Query on the Belgian Migration Code
The current Belgian government, in office since October 2020, announced that it would replace the Immigration Act by a new Migration Code. In this context, EMN Belgium sought information about the structure of national migration laws of other Member States and the terminology used for migration policies, subjects and institutions, the result of which was compiled and summarized.
In Belgium, the main legal provisions on migration and asylum are set out in the Law of 15 December 1980 regarding the entry, residence, settlement and removal of foreign nationals. The act, commonly referred to as “Aliens Act” and translated in English as “Immigration Act”, has been revised dozens of times ever since its adoption. According to experts, the multiple amendments have rendered the law overly complicated and unreadable. Therefore, the current government sought to replace the Immigration Act by a new Migration Code, which is currently being discussed and developed. In this context, EMN Belgium launched an Ad-Hoc Query on the structure of national migration laws of other Member States and the terminology used for migration policies, subjects and institutions, thereby aiming at providing a comparison tool for the Belgian legislator.
Six questions were put in front of the other EMN NCP's:
1. What are the names of the major national laws on asylum and migration in your Member State?
2. If some or all of these laws have been codified (merged into a single Code), please indicate the year of codification and the former names (in English) of the laws that have been codified.
3. How are the major national laws on migration structured?
4. Which term(s) and definition(s) does your national legislation use for a) a non-national in general (including both Union citizens and third-country nationals) and b) an undocumented migrant?
5. What are the official names of a) the national immigration office(s) responsible for the entry, stay and/or return of non-nationals, b) the office(s) responsible for the examination of applications for international protection, c) the (administrative and/or judicial) appeal instance(s) in migration procedures and d) detention facilities?
6. Does the national legislation of your Member State provide for advisory (non-judicial) bodies or commissions that can/should be consulted for policy advice or decisions on residence or removal?
Subsequently, the answers were compiled and summarized, and the result is now available in two separate documents:
1. A document summarizing the answers given to questions 1-2-4-5-6;
2. A document with a compilation of all answers given to question 3.
EMN Belgium is grateful to all NCP's who gave their input for this Query.