Law introducing various provisions on migration and asylum

Today, a new law was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. It introduces several changes to the Immigration Act and the Reception Act, including on family reunification or searches in closed centres.

Image Belgian Official Gazette

The law of 4 May 2016, which modifies the law of 15 December 1980 on the access, residence, settlement and removal of foreign nationals and the law of 12 January 2007 on the reception of asylum seekers and other categories of foreign nationals, introduces various provisions regarding migration and asylum. The law enters into force on 7 July 2016.

These provisions include – inter alia :

  • A family member of a third country national can now obtain a residence permit of unlimited duration (‘B card’) after 5 years, and no longer 3 years. During these 5 years, the Immigration Office may check if the family member still meets the requirements for family reunification and – when this is not the case - withdraw the residence permit.
  • The possibility to withdraw or refuse to grant a residence permit to a foreign national (and their family members) who has committed fraud is now more clearly stipulated in the Immigration Act.
  • TCNs in closed centres may now be searched at any time, provided this search is necessary to maintain security and order. Previously, these searches could only be carried out upon arrival of the TCN at the centre, after a visit, or before a transfer.
  • An asylum seeker can now request a transfer to an individual reception facility after having resided in a collective reception facility for 6 months (and no longer 4 months).
  • Other provisions aim – inter alia - at complying with the Schengen acquis, as well as with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU.

The full text of the law is available here (in French and in Dutch).

Publication Date: Mon 27 Jun 2016
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