Member of Parliament Dries van Langenhof, elected to Vlaams-Belang’s list, believes return numbers in the first part of 2022 are too low. “It was predictable and catastrophic,” Van Langenhof said in a news release on Thursday. But according to the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moore (CD&V), returns are still being hampered by the Corona measures.
In the first part of 2022, 3,396 people who were not allowed to stay in Belgium returned. This is evident from the numbers from the Immigration Department. “A little bitterly,” says Dries van Langenhof. “If we extend these numbers to the whole year, we will not be able to contact the return numbers by Corona,” he added.
But the comparison with 2019 is of little use, according to Cabinet de Moore, the foreign minister. And the Cabinet said: “In 2022, the return will continue to be disrupted due to Corona’s measures by some countries of origin.” “A third of the planned removals failed due to Covid-related issues.”
“As long as there is no drastic shift in the Belgian return policy, the numbers will remain the same: predictable and catastrophic,” Van Langenhof concludes. However, efforts are being made to guide people who are not allowed to return to their country of origin. This is what the de Moore government says. “There are missions to specific countries of origin or other EU member states, there are talks with diplomatic representatives and we make agreements with airlines.”
In 2021, Immigration Department return advisors and Fedasil employees were able to forcibly or voluntarily return 5,340 people. This is an increase compared to 2020. Then there were 4,895.
In 2022, 3,396 people who were not allowed to stay in Belgium have so far returned. In April, the numbers rose again above 200 for the first time since the emergence of Corona. And in May, the upward trend was maintained to 303. In January, February and March, an average of 160 people could be returned.