BELGIUM - Relaxing integration obligations & maintaining funding for public integration services

BELGIUM

 

 

Relaxing integration obligations & maintaining funding for public integration services

 

(CRIPEL asbl)

 

 

 

#Covid19information

 


French version

Download a pdf copy of this practice

 

 

Description:

 

Various actors are involved in the implementation of the Walloon Region’s policy on the reception and integration of foreigners, including eight Regional Integration Centres (“Centres Régionaux d’Intégration” or CRIs). These centres are accredited by the Walloon Region, and are responsible for developing and implementing the integration process, which is mandatory for certain newcomers.

 

During the first lockdown in Belgium, the Walloon Region informed the CRIs (including the Regional Centre for the Integration of Foreigners or People of Foreign Origin in Liège, or CRIPEL) of the temporary suspension from mid-March to mid-May of the obligation to follow the integration process for newcomers. Subsequently, the Walloon Government's decree of 10 December 2020 extended the duration of the mandatory integration process, granting newcomers an additional 12 months to complete this process (in addition to the 18 months initially planned).

 

Through this same decree, the Walloon government also indicated that the grant provided to the CRIs would be maintained, despite the fact that certain activities could not be carried out in the context of the health crisis. The grant amount provided to the CRIs for the year ahead is normally calculated on the basis of the results obtained by the CRIs during the year previous. The decree stipulates, however, that the 2022 grant amount will be determined on the basis of the results for the year 2019 (rather than 2020). 

 

Impact:

 

  • Newcomers to the Walloon Region now have a total of 30 months (previously 18 months) to complete the mandatory integration process. 

 

  • Grants provided to CRIs for the year 2022 are not calculated on the basis of results achieved during periods in which their work was affected by COVID-19, and overall budgets for integration services in the region therefore remain at normal levels.

 

Enabling factors:

 

  • Structural financing of the CRIs by the Walloon government. 
  • Quick legislative response to the challenges faced by CRIs providing integration services and their beneficiaries.

 

Remaining challenges:

 

The main challenges are the difficulties associated with organising face-to-face meetings with the beneficiaries, as well as issues related to beneficiaries’ digital access and skills (e.g. not all beneficiaries have the necessary equipment to access online meetings). 

 


Further information: