"A decrease of asylum applications from more than 26%, an increase of protection rate and a backlog that resolves. " Thus the CGRA summarizes the results from 2013 asylum.
A decreasing number of asylum applications
In 2013, 15.840 new asylum applications were filed in Belgium, a decrease of 26.2% in comparison with 2012. This has been the lowest number of asylum applications since 2008. In Belgium, a decreasing trend is clearly visible, while in many other European countries, the number of asylum applications is increasing.
This decreasing trend in Belgium is explained by the fact that the asylum-related measures are paying off: a shorter processing period for asylum applications, the application of the principle ‘Last in First out’, some law amendments (including the list of safe countries and the new rules for multiple applications), the decrease of the backlog, the dissuasion campaigns, the good collaboration between the different instances. All these aspects have led to a change in perception regarding Belgium. Persons who really need protection, are still able to obtain it.
The decrease is even more significant in the case of the first asylum applications. In 2013, 10.193 first asylum applications were filed compared to 15.206 in 2012. This amounts to a decrease of 33%.
The number of multiple asylum applications, i.e. applications introduced by persons who already received a decision regarding a previous asylum application, decreased by9.7% (from 6.257 in 2012 to 5.647 in 2013).
The main countries of origin in 2013 were Afghanistan (8.4% of the total number of applications), Guinea (7.9%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (7.7%), Russia (7.4%) and Syria (5.5%). Iraq, Kosovo, Albania, Cameroon and China complete the top 10 of the countries of origin.
For the third year in a row, Afghanistan is the main country of origin for asylum seekers in Belgium. However, the number of asylum applications introduced by Afghans has decreased by 50% compared to last year (1.327 applications in 2013 to 2.635 in 2012).
In 2013, Syria occupies the fifth place in the list of countries of origin of asylum seekers. In spite of the violent conflict dividing this country the number of asylum applications introduced by Syrians only increased slightly (877 applications in 2013 to 793 in 2012). The majority of the persons having fled Syria live in the neighbouring countries.
With regard to the Balkan countries, Kosovo and Albania continue to appear in the top 10. The decreasing trend for these countries, which already began in 2012, is continuing (754 asylum applications for Kosovo in 2013 to 983 in 2012, 487 asylum applications Albania in 2013 to 667 in 2012). Serbia (336 asylum applications in 2013 to 571 in 2012) no longer appears in the top 10 of countries of origin. However, these countries do obtain high scores regarding the number of multiple asylum applications.
More than 18.000 decisions in 2013
In 2013, the CGRS took 18.193 decisions in total.
16.569 decisions were taken on the merits of the case and 1.624 decisions were taken within the framework of multiple asylum applications(523 decisions taking the case into consideration and 1.101 decisions refusing to take the case into consideration). Since 1 September 2013, the CGRS is qualified to process multiple asylum applications. In the past, this was done by the Immigration Office.
A higher percentage of protection
In absolute figures, the CGRS never granted more protection statuses than it did in 2013. 4.937 decisions were positive (2.986 decisions granting refugee status and 1.951 decisions granting subsidiary protection status), which corresponds to 6.313 persons (including children accompanying their parents).
In 2013, the CGRS decided that in 29.4% of the decisions on the merits of the case, the asylum seekers indeed needed protection: 17.7% of the decisions granted refugee status and 11.7% of the decisions granted subsidiary protection status. This percentage of positive decisions is higher than in 2012 (22.4%).
Almost one out of twodecisions granting protection status in 2013 related to Afghan or Syrian asylum seekers (2.385 decisions on a total of 4.937 positive decisions).
The persons who received protection status in 2013, mainly originated from Afghanistan (473 decisions), Guinea (361 decisions), the Democratic Republic of Congo (265 decisions), China (191 decisions), Iran (168 decisions) and Syria (161 decisions).
The persons who received subsidiary protection in 2013, mainly originated from Syria (1.013 decisions) and Afghanistan (738 decisions).
The backlog decreased with almost 4.500 files
At the end of December 2013, the total workload of the CGRS consisted of 7.006 cases. 3.900 cases is a normal workload. The actual backlog amounts to 3.106 cases. At the beginning of January 2013, the total workload of the CGRS still amounted to 11.495 cases. Due to the decreased number of asylum applications and the increased number of decisions taken by the CGRS the backlog could be reduced. If the number of asylum applications remains stable, the backlog of the CGRS will be absorbed completely in 2014.