Resettlement to Belgium

Within the framework of the European Resettlement programme, Belgium has put in place a structural resettlement project in 2013.

Every year, Belgium is offering resettlement places to a certain number of vulnerable refugees, in need of international protection.

IOM supports the Government of Belgium with travel and other resettlement related services upon request of the governmental agencies dealing with the implementation of the resettlement programme, namely the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil) and the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS).

IOM carries out pre-departure health assessments based on the guidelines received from Fedasil. These health assessments are carried out to ensure that people travel in a safe and dignified manner, receive appropriate assistance when required and do not pose a health risk towards other travellers or the receiving communities.

Moreover, IOM assists Fedasil in providing pre-departure orientation and pre-embarkation training. The training consists of interactive games and exercises with the refugees on different cultures, traditions, norms and values and tackles the phenomenon of culture shock. This training is key to prepare the refugees for a successful integration into Belgian society.

For the travel of the refugees, IOM facilitates the visa processing, books the domestic and international flights and provides assistance pre-departure, during transit as well as on arrival in Brussels, where IOM facilitates the immigration and customs checks.

In 2020, Belgium welcomed 176 Syrian refugees from Turkey and Lebanon within the frame of the Belgian Resettlement programme. 133 of them travelled from Lebanon, while the remaining 43 persons travelled from Turkey. Unlike any other years, 2020 was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a huge impact on all international movements. To this end, IOM adopted a range of measures to minimize the risk of transmission during movements, and planned adaptations in pre-departure activities, such as social distancing measures, distribution of face masks and all beneficiaries undergo a PCR test before departure.

Since the onset of the Syria crisis, IOM has been involved in the coordination mechanisms for humanitarian response and has continued to operate ongoing resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes from within the region. IOM’s resettlement operations in countries neighbouring Syria, as well as in Syria itself have continued to support refugees and states, including pre-departure health assessments, pre-departure logistics for visa processing and travel documents, pre-departure orientation sessions and movement management.

For more information, contact Mrs Evi Vermeulen (evermeulen@iom.int, tel: +32 (0)2 287 74 23)