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Report finds inconsistencies in registration process for EU expats

19:41 12/12/2021

Myria, the federal body in charge of migration, has found shortcomings in the formalities for European Union citizens registering in Belgian municipalities according to the results of a new study.

The research, called Settling in Belgium as an EU citizen, has issued several recommendations to guarantee the free movement of EU citizens who are employees, self-employed and job seekers.

The study, carried out by a consortium made up of Fragomen, the University of Kent and the UGent, looked at the formalities to be completed when EU citizens wish to settle in Belgium for a period of more than three months, specifically the obligation to register in order to obtain residence documents.

Research showed that registrations take place very differently in different municipalities and regions. It gives as an example the documents that people must submit when applying for registration. They are not the same depending on the location of the request. The latter also underlines that not all the municipalities questioned allow all categories of family members of EU citizens to register.

The researchers therefore recommended that the instructions, known as Gemcom, sent by the Immigration Office to the municipalities be standardised in order to comply with current legislation and case law. "Making these instructions available to the public would also contribute to transparency and legal certainty," Myria added.

It also suggested training for administrative staff on registering family members of EU citizens.

The research team advised setting up a centralised website with full and correct information on the registration process in several languages for EU citizens and their family members.

The study noted that the municipalities do not disseminate sufficient information on their websites on the registration procedure and suggested that the website of the Immigration Office could be useful in this regard.

It also emerged from the study that municipalities want to obtain more support from the Immigration Office. Myria advised that investing in digital communication between the municipalities and the Immigration Office would facilitate these exchanges.


Written by Richard Harris