Each year, political, economic, family and demographic reasons prompt many people to leave their country of origin and move to other countries.
The Immigration Office (IO) is the largest directorate-general within the Federal Public Service Home Affairs (FPS Home Affairs). This FPS is responsible for implementing the policy of the Federal Minister of Security and Home Affairs. Under the authority of the FPS Home Affairs, the IO specifically ensures the implementation of the Belgian governmental policy on the management of migration flows.
The IO is headed by Freddy Roosemont, Director General. The IO has around 2000 employees, divided between the central services in Brussels, six administrative detention centres (secure centres) and 27 accommodation facilities (alternative to detention for families).
Freddy ROOSEMONT: "Thinking about migration today and tomorrow is one of the major challenges for all of Europe. Belgium wants to help meet this challenge."
Mission and vision
As a federal public organisation, the IO is responsible for the application of the Law of 15 December 1980 and the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981 on access to the territory, residence, settlement and removal of foreign nationals.
In the context of its missions, it also ensures compliance with various other European or international regulations.
Among other things, the IO is involved in the issuance of visas, for short or long stays. It is responsible for the registration of applications for international protection lodged in Belgium or at the border. The IO works to prevent the trafficking and smuggling of human beings. It combats illegal immigration and ensures the return or forced removal of illegal residents.
The IO works in consultation with other bodies and partners, in particular the Office of the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons, Fedasil, the municipal administrations, the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, including diplomatic and consular posts, the police forces, the Federal Public Service Justice, and the International Organization for Migration.
For all foreign nationals, the IO takes a decision that is:
Transparent: based on clear and specific regulations
Fair: in accordance with the law, reasoned in law and in fact
Objective: with an assessment that is free of prejudice
Individual: every application is handled on a case-by-case basis
The IO also helps develop the humane and orderly management of migration to Belgium. Beyond cultural differences, it strives to support a firm but humane migration programme that respects universal laws and values.