Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Belgium annnounces regularisation

According to this piece, the Belgian government has announced a set of criteria for regularisation -- not a "mass amnesty", they stress, and applicants will be assessed on a "case-by-case basis". But the criteria look at lot like SiC's.
Phillippe Courard of the Belgian Government said they would accommodate people who had integrated into villages and towns, those who had make links with society, those who had children for several years in schools. A new circular sets out the precise conditions under which residency permits can be given. Among those who can expect a favourable outcome: long-term residents, parents of Belgian children, parents of children at school, those with work contracts and those whose applications have taken an excessive amount of time. Lawyers for the immigrants expressed a cautious welcome. Alexis Deswaef said: “You can say that for the first time a legal framework has been established. There are rules, there are precise criteria so that those without residency papers can live in dignity and come out of the shadows.”
The story is also carried by another website:
The Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian democrat) has released the details of the Federal Government agreement on the regularisation of illegals. In order to be successful, applicants will have to show they are integrated into the community.
Illegals who have lived in Belgium for at least five years will be able to apply for a regularisation of their situation between 15 September and 15 December. If successful, they will be granted papers that will allow them to stay in the country legally.
It is the Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, Melchior Wathelet (Francophone Christian democrat), who has the final say.
There's an estimate here that this will benefit about 25,000.

Here it says:
The amnesty being offered only applies to people who have been living illegally in Belgium for at least six years; five if you have a family. Asylum seekers whose claims have been left hanging for four years or more will also be granted legal status here.
There is some interesting background - a hunger-strike by undocumented migrants and a civil-society campaign. This very disapproving piece, for example, gives fascinating info on the Catholic Church opening its doors to undocumented migrants.

If anyone knows more, please comment.