Stages and actors
The refugees selected for resettlement in Belgium follow a procedure that includes different stages and that involves international and national actors.
Selection by the UNHCR
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identifies the refugees who fulfil the criteria for resettlement. On the basis of their vulnerability, UNHCR selects refugees and submits their files to Belgium.
Selection by Belgium
The Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) organizes a selection mission in the first country of asylum and conducts interviews with refugees. On the basis of the interview and other elements of the case, the CGRS shares a recommendation with the Minister in charge of asylum and migration. In parallel, Fedasil carries out a medical screening, which does not have an influence on the decision. The Minister takes a final decision and gives instructions for the issuance of the necessary travel documents to selected refugees.
Fedasil, with the logistical support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM),is in charge of the organisation of BELCO, the Belgian cultural orientation. The purpose of BELCO is to inform the refugees before their departure and to help them better manage their expectations. For several days, Fedasil addresses a range of topics (school, work, norms and values, travel...) and conducts individual interviews with refugees to prepare their reception in Belgium.
After obtaining the necessary documents via the Immigration Office (IO), the Foreign Affairs and the local embassies, refugees leave the country they are living. The IOM takes cares of the flights, the last medical examinations and supports refugees from their departure to their arrival in Belgium, which includes the formalities in terms of immigration and customs.
Reception in centres
Upon their arrival, refugees are received in one of the four centres of Fedasil specialised in the reception of resettled refugees: Sint-Truiden, Pondrôme, Florennes and Kapellen. The stay in a centre lasts about 6 weeks and gives access to material support and to a reception programme tailored to their needs. During this stay, the refugees officially apply for international protection at the Immigration Office (IO). Given the fact that the CGRS has already given a positive response to their case, they quickly obtain the refugee status.
Reception in a LRI
After their stay in a centre, resettled refugees are received in a local reception initiative (LRI) located in a Belgian commune. The LRI's are accommodations made available to asylum seekers or recognised refugees and are managed by the Public Social Welfare Centres (hereinafter abbreviated “PSWC”). Resettled refugees have the right to stay there for six months and they are offered social support. During this transitional phase, they focus on administrative formalities, and on seeking a private accommodation and taking the necessary steps regarding their integration process.
After six months, refugees leave the LRI and move to the private accommodation they have found. This way, they can start their life more independently, with the help of the traditional actors of assistance and integration.
In order to facilitate the integration process of resettled refugees, Fedasil follows the implementation of agreements with two specific partners:
The Public Social Welfare Centres
Every PSWC that manages a LRI where resettled refugees are received can become a partner of the resettlement programme by offering these refugees an accommodation in the same commune, but outside the network. In this case, the PSWC is committed to offering a tailored and intensive social support for minimum 12 months in order to facilitate the integration process (referral to language courses, integration path, socio-professional integration services...).
In that case, the PSWC becomes a full-fledged resettlement operator: it provides the sustainable integration support of the resettled refugees in a Belgian commune. This approach is part of the vision of local anchorage advocated by Fedasil.
- The organisation of workshops in the form of collective and interactive sessions on specific psychosocial and citizenship topics;
- The management of an online platform where refugees can exchange and receive reliable information in their own language;
- The development of a network of ambassadors composed of former resettled refugees.
Do you have any questions regarding the selection of resettled refugees and the international protection, or questions regarding specific applications? Contact the CGRS via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have questions regarding the transfer to Belgium and the reception of resettled refugees? Contact us via email@example.com.
You are a refugee, you are living outside Belgium and you have questions about resettlement in this country? Contact UNHCR in the country you are living in. Fedasil in not responsible for identifying the people for resettlement.