E.g., 12/04/2020
E.g., 12/04/2020

Country Resource - Belgium

Belgium

BE
  • Population......................................................................11,720,716 (July 2020 est.)
  • Population growth rate .................................................................0.63% (2020 est.)
  • Birth rate....................................................11.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
  • Death rate..................................................9.8 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
  • Net migration rate.................................4.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
  • Ethnic groups.................................Belgian 75.2%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 10.6% (2012 est.)

CIA World Factbook

Belgium is often overlooked as a country of immigration because of its size and its less known history of immigration. Yet over the last three decades Belgium has become a permanent country of settlement for many different types of migrants. Our updated Belgium profile delves into modern migration flows and policies in Belgium which are inching away from a piecemeal approach towards a well-needed, long-term strategy.

Recent Activity

Three men pose with guns

Even with the collapse of the Islamic State's "caliphate," thousands of Western foreign fighters are estimated to remain in the Middle East. Deciding how to handle the return of the radicalized—and their dependents—is no easy issue. Some countries seek to revoke their citizenship. Yet citizenship revocation has unclear impact and raises deep questions about the limits of a state’s responsibility to its citizens, as this article explores.

2018 proved a banner year for far-right populist movements in Europe and the Americas. They claimed the presidency of Brazil, sparked the collapse of the Belgian government, and—whether in or out of office—put a harder-edged stamp on migration and asylum policies in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and beyond.

Belgium is often overlooked as a country of immigration because of its size and its less known history of immigration. Yet over the last three decades Belgium has become a permanent country of settlement for many different types of migrants. Our updated Belgium profile delves into modern migration flows and policies in Belgium which are inching away from a piecemeal approach towards a well-needed, long-term strategy.

Vlaams Belang, a far-right party known for its nationalism and anti-immigrant position, lost one seat in Belgium's parliament in the June 10 national elections. Laura Barker examines the party's use of the immigration issue and reactions to its politics.

Only recently have European politicians and public opinion leaders talked about the need to focus on the integration of immigrants and their children.

Schengen eliminated border controls between European countries, and established a common external border. MPI's Julia Gelatt explains the changes brought by Schengen and the effects Schengen has had on European border control, visa, and asylum policies.

Research by Marco Martiniello of the University of Liege and Andrea Rea of the Free University of Brussels casts light on how and why unauthorized immigrants arrive and stay in Belgium.
Marco Martiniello and Andrea Rea examine how immigration has made Belgium a multicultural society in perpetual renewal.
Building Welcome from the Ground up: European Small and Rural Communities Engaging in Refugee Resettlement
Reports
November 2020

Small towns and rural areas within Europe have become more active in receiving resettled refugees in recent years. How is resettlement to these communities different compared to urban areas? And what can be done to make good on the promise of “rural welcoming”? This report explores these questions, drawing on interviews with resettled refugees and receiving-community members in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

The Next Generation of Refugee Resettlement in Europe: Ambitions for the Future and How to Realize Them
Reports
November 2020

In recent years, the European Union and some of its Member States have taken on a greater role in global refugee resettlement, expanding or launching new programs and experimenting with creative approaches to providing protection to those in need. This report looks ahead to how these efforts, investments, and lessons learned can be built upon, even in the face of the uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driving Migrant Inclusion through Social Innovation: Lessons for Cities in a Pandemic
Reports
September 2020

Since COVID-19 hit cities across Europe, many have struggled with how to sustain support for migrant inclusion in a time of social-distancing orders and likely budget cuts. This report explores how municipalities and their partners used social innovation to meet the challenges of the 2015–16 spike in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants, and how those experiences can help localities weather the pandemic and put communities at the center of recovery efforts.

Chasing Efficiency: Can Operational Changes Fix European Asylum Systems?
Reports
March 2020

Brussels is searching for bright ideas on how to fix the Common European Asylum System. While recent EU-level legal reforms have stalled, this report examines the many innovative, operations-focused approaches Member States have used since the 2015-16 migration crisis to improve registration and reception systems, asylum case processing, and options for returning failed asylum seekers.

Beyond Work: Reducing Social Isolation for Refugee Women and Other Marginalized Newcomers
Reports
January 2020

As migrant- and refugee-receiving countries in Europe, North America, and beyond prioritize services that are focused on employment, language instruction, and civic integration, newcomers who are not in the workplace are at high risk for social isolation. As a result, societies should reconsider what successful integration looks like for vulnerable newcomers who will never find traditional employment or who need a longer-than-average timeline to get there.

Reports
June 2019

In the three years since the European migration and refugee crisis vividly captured public attention, a wave of innovative initiatives has emerged to help newcomers settle into receiving societies. Now, as the sense of crisis abates, this report explores what these initiatives will need to do to outlast the hype and produce lasting change on key integration issues such as housing, economic inclusion, and community building.

Reports
April 2018

With many young children among the refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Europe and North America in recent years, policymakers and service providers are grappling with the task of designing and scaling up critical early childhood services. This report examines the approaches taken in nine key host countries, highlighting common challenges and promising practices.

Reports
January 2015
Employment-oriented mentoring is increasingly recognized in Europe as a tool for advancing the labor market integration of disadvantaged individuals, including immigrants. This report highlights a number of relevant one-on-one mentoring practices in Europe and North America, focusing on the role of different initiators and stakeholders, forms of collaboration, methods, and target groups.
Brexit on the Backburner: Citizens’ Rights and the Implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in a Pandemic
Policy Briefs
September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just weeks after the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, delaying plans to implement the withdrawal agreement’s provisions on citizens’ rights. This policy brief assesses the progress countries have made in setting up systems to adjust the status of mobile EU and UK nationals, as well as steps countries can take to make up for lost time.