Reception of 18 minors from Greece
On 8 May 2020, the Belgian government pledged to relocate 18 unaccompanied foreign minors (UFM) to our country. They arrived in Belgium on Tuesday 4 August.
The 18 young migrants had been staying alone, without parent or guardian, in migrant camps on the Greek islands for several months - particularly the hotspots of Lesbos and Samos. The 17 boys and 1 girl originally come from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia and Guinea. The youngest is aged 9 and the oldest has just turned 18.
All the young migrants concerned were tested for Covid-19 before departing for Belgium. Only after a negative test result were they allowed to make the trip to Belgium. Fedasil provides the usual medical screening on arrival.
Reception and application for international protection
After arriving in Belgium, they will first be accommodated in one of the Fedasil observation and orientation centres for unaccompanied minors. After a stay of 2 to 4 weeks, they will be directed to the reception facility that best suits their needs.
This specific reception path allows us to offer the young person suitable reception and support.
During their stay in a reception facility, the Belgian asylum authorities will examine their application for international protection.
Relocation? The relocation of asylum seekers is a solidarity mechanism which was implemented by the European Union at the end of 2015 to relieve the burden on Member States which are under high migratory pressure. Greece in particular has called for the relocation of vulnerable young migrants. The EU decided to launch a call to relocate 1,600 UFM. 11 countries, including Belgium, responded to this call.
There are various actors involved in the relocation process: local partners (the Greek authorities), Belgian authorities (Immigration Office and CGRS for the asylum procedure, Fedasil for reception) and international bodies (EASO, UNHCR, OIM).