The Belgian government did not find a way to overcome the shortage of places allocated to accommodate refugees, other than taking a controversial decision to suspend granting accommodation to unmarried men.
The Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration, Nicole De Moor, explained that all places in the reception facilities will be allocated to families, including children, in light of an expected increase in the number of families arriving.
The minister pointed to an urgent need to prevent the displacement of children during the winter, according to the “Almanya-Today” website.
The move comes after a sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Belgium, putting significant pressure on the asylum system.
In this context, it is reported that there are about 2,000 single men waiting on the waiting list to obtain residency, and although the country expanded establishing additional reception centers last year, the pressure on the asylum system continues.
The decision sparked controversy and criticism, with refugee aid groups describing it as “illegal and inhumane.”
Refugee accommodation suffers from chronic overcrowding in the country, which has a population of about 11.5 million people, and according to estimates by the responsible authority, about 3,000 people seeking protection were homeless in Belgium at the beginning of the year.