Arrival of the first 22 Syrian refugees resettled in Belgium
On 4 December 2014, 22 Syrian refugees landed in Belgium for resettlement. 53 more are expected to arrive by the end of the year. Further resettlements of Syrian refugees are planned in 2015.
Today, 4 December 2014, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Country Office for Belgium and Luxembourg has assisted the first group of 22 Syrian refugees who arrived in Belgium in the framework of the national resettlement programme. Upon arrival, a small delegation of IOM, Fedasil and the Office of the Commissioner General for Stateless Persons and Refugees welcomed them at Brussels Airport. After Syrian refugees arrived in Belgium they have been taken to Fedasil’s reception centres where they are to stay six weeks.
National resettlement programme
Belgium has installed a structural resettlement programme in 2013 with a first group of 100 refugees arriving mainly from the Great Lakes region. In 2014 Belgium has committed itself to resettle 100 refugees out of which 75 Syrian refugees from Turkey as a reply to the international call for help.
75 Syrian refugees resettled in Belgium in 2014
It is recalled that a delegation from the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons went to Ankara, Turkey, at the end of August 2014 to complete a selection mission in cooperation with the UNHCR. During the mission, the IOM performed a medical examination on these people. Fedasil also organised a Cultural Orientation mission, during which the refugees were prepared for their future life in Belgium.
The 22 Syrian refugees who arrived on 4 December were all temporarily living in Istanbul after they had fled for the war in Syria. The rest of the group is to land in Belgium by the end of 2014.
Future plans 2015-2020
For 2015, the number of resettlement places was set on 150 but the newly appointed State Secretary for Asylum and Migration - Theo Francken - has exceptionally doubled the number of places for resettlement to 300. The number of resettlement places is set to increase gradually in order to, annually, grant protection to 300 refugees by 2020.
A specific website on resettlement in Belgium is available and provides further information on procedures, stories of resettled refugees, organizations involved and their responsibilities.