Belgium: 28,000 immigrants regularised

19 July 2011
De Standaard

De Standaard, 19 July 2011

“Residence permit for 28,000 illegal immigrants”, headlines De Standaard. Exactly two years after the implementation of new immigration rules in Belgium, 28,000 formerly illegal immigrants have benefited from the new criteria “without which they probably would not have been regularised”, notes the Brussels daily. Under the new policy, migrants who have worked for at least two and a half years or lived for five years or more in Belgium may apply for a residence permit. Applicants were vetted according to their knowledge of the French or Flemish languages, whether their children attended school, and what local ties they had contracted in the community. The Forum for Asylum and Migrations (FAM) is pleased with the outcome: “The new criteria finally gave clarity and have made a real difference for thousands of people.” De Standaard notes, however, that “nearly half of all applications will be refused.”