On 9 September 2022, an amendment to the Royal Decree of July 11, 2003 on the organization of the CGRS was published in the Official Journal. This amendment explicitly provides the possibility for the CGRS to organize interviews with applicants for international protection through videoconference and enters into force on 19 September 2022.
The CGRS will restart the interviews through videoconference with applicants who reside in a closed centre. The CGRS already applied this practice extensively from 2017 to 2020.
The project for video interviews with applicants in open centres has been put on hold.
The CGRS uses MS Teams for the video interviews, as does the entire FPS Home Affairs.
For the time being, it is not possible for a lawyer, or any other third party, to take part in such an interview remotely. Therefore, the lawyer still has to go to the closed centre. Currently, end-to-end encryption is not possible for third party participation in the video call. As soon as this is possible, lawyers will be able to choose to participate remotely.
However, the CGRS emphasizes its preference for the physical presence of the lawyer with the applicant for international protection, which contributes to the climate of trust for this type of interview.