A total of 23,443 requests to the Foreign Office for international protection were filed in 2018, an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, according to the annual report of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS). Still much lower than the 44,760 recorded in 2015.
The CGRS explains last year’s increase in the number of applications being due to “secondary flows” between European countries, to the presence in Belgium of diasporas, or to the “quality” of reception and procedure within the Belgian system.
With 3,702 cases, Syria remains far ahead as the origin of applicants. Palestine (2,468) and Afghanistan (2,030) follow.
Two thirds of the applications in 2018 were made by men. The number of unaccompanied foreign minors was 811, a slight increase from 2017, but nearly four times less than in 2015 (3,099).
The CGRS made a decision concerning 21,159 persons. A refugee status or subsidiary protection was granted in 49.1% of cases.
But, the number of status withdrawals peaked at 217, as a result of the widening of CGRS skills since September 2015, making it also responsible for decisions regarding convicted persons who might be a threat to national security or to society.