PERCEPTIONS Country Report – Belgium

Belgium is a federal state with a complex institutional structure in which policy responsibilities and decisionmaking powers are divided between governments at the federal level. Issues related to immigration and international protection are a federal responsibility, while integration is mainly a competence of the different communities. However, the federal state remains responsible for the entry to the territory and the right to reside in Belgium, as well as for issuing work permits for migrants with a temporary residence permit for reasons other than ‘employment’. In 2015, Belgium saw a significant increase in the number of asylum applications (35,476 applications compared to 17,213 in 2015). These asylum applications mainly came from Iraqis (7,772), Syrians (7,554) and Afghans (7,099). More generally, like other European countries, Belgium has seen a surge of the extreme right as well as increases in xenophobia, islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiment.


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