Asylum statistics – survey of 2017

Less than 7,300 pending cases – workload drastically decreased

At the end of 2016, the CGRS’ total caseload (i.e. the number of cases for which the CGRS has not yet taken a decision) still amounted to 14,815 cases. This backlog resulted from a high asylum influx in 2015. As a result of last year’s continuous efforts by the CGRS staff members, the caseload was brought back to 7,279 cases at the end of 2017. ‘Never before has the backlog been reduced in such a short time’, says Commissioner General Dirk Van den Bulck. As a volume of 4,500 cases can be considered a normal caseload, the actual backlog of the CGRS amounts to less than 2,800 cases. If the number of applications for international protection remains at its current level, the CGRS will have eliminated its backlog by the end of June 2018. The CGRS is aware that long waiting periods have a serious impact on asylum applicants as they remain uncertain about their future.


Protection rate remains high

In 2017, the CGRS considered in 50.7 % of final decisions that the applicant was in need of protection. This corresponds to  9,931 decisions concerning 13,833 persons (including minors who accompany their parents).

  • 38.7 % of final decisions were decisions granting refugee status. This status is granted to persons who left their country of origin because they fear persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
  • 12.0 % of final decisions were decisions granting subsidiary protection status to persons who run a real risk of suffering serious harm if they return to their country of origin.

The 2017 protection rate of 50.7 % is in keeping with that of 2016 (57.7 %). This high protection rate is mainly explained by the profile of the applicants for international protection. As in the previous year, the CGRS processed in 2017 many applications from Syrians. In all, a protection status was granted to 4,096 Syrians in Belgium.

The top 3 countries of origin for decisions granting refugee status are Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Again, this illustrates that the need for protection remains high for persons coming from some countries.

In the past three years, the CGRS granted protection to 40,094 persons.


19,688 applications for international protection in 2017, comparable with the number of applications in 2016, but significantly more resettlements and relocations.

19,688 applications for international protection in 2017, comparable with the number of applications in 2016, but significantly more resettlements and relocations.

In 2017, 19,688 persons applied for international protection at the Immigration Office: this figure is comparable to that of 2016, when 18,710 persons filed such an application, and is much lower than in 2015. In 2015, 44,760 persons applied for international protection in our country.

Moreover, if  persons who came to Belgium in 2017 as part of resettlement (1,309) and relocation (895) programmes, are not included, the number of applicants for international protection in 2017 (17,537), is lower than in 2016 (18,710), when 452 persons were resettled and 200 persons were relocated in Belgium.

In 2017, 1,309 persons came to our country as part of resettlement. Resettlement offers a solution for persons who cannot return to their country of origin and cannot obtain sufficient protection or do not have any integration perspective in the country of first reception. In the same period, 895 persons came to Belgium under the EU relocation programme.

Belgium meets its EU obligations and has accepted to make the same effort in 2018 in terms of the number of persons eligible for resettlement. Our country thus contributes to an integrated policy of international protection.


Various challenges for 2018

The CGRS intends to continue exercising its core mission, i.e. granting protection to those who flee war and persecution. Those needing protection can count on the CGRS. Those who do not need protection, will receive a decision refusing protection.

Besides the elimination of the backlog of asylum cases, the implementation of the Royal Decree of 21 November 2017, which transposes the EU Asylum Procedure Directive into Belgian law, is an additional challenge. The CGRS will for example pay even more attention to persons with special needs.

Furthermore, the CGRS will continue to devote itself to the further development of a Common European Asylum System.

In the autumn of 2018, the CGRS will leave the WTC tower near the Brussels-North train station and move to the Eurostation building in font of  Brussels-Midi train station. The CGRS will continue its efforts as an efficient and innovative organization.

11 January 2018
New address CGRS