The number of asylum applications continues to peak, the file backlog is increasing and the level of protection plummets to just 31%, the lowest level in seven years.

"All asylum figures show that the gun urgently needs to be changed from shoulder and the focus must finally be placed on less influx and more outflows," said Parliamentary Group Chairman Barbara Pas (Flemish Interest). The number of asylum applications in this country continues to peak. This is shown by the latest figures from the CGVS. In the first month of this year, a total of 2,739 people applied for asylum, representing a 22 percent increase compared to December last year. Compared to the same month last year, the figures remain at the same high level. However, it should be noted that the number of registered asylum applications was disproportionately high in January last year. This is because it was kept artificially low by the introduction of an asylum quota of 50 asylum applications per day at the end of 2018. Compared to a 'normal' year like 2018, we do not speak of a stagnation, but of an increase of 44.5 percent. Compared to January 2017, the number of asylum applications increased by as much as 87.5%. Flemish Interest wants greater focus on outflow: "Asylum figures are a signal"Together with the number of asylum applications, the backlog in treatment also increases to almost 7,000 cases, resulting in ever-increasing invoices. The recent answer to a written question from Member of Parliament Dries Van Langenhove (Flemish Interest Group) to Migration Minister Maggie De Block (Open Vld) showed that the duration of an asylum application is now an average of 377 calendar days . For the appeal against the rejection of an application to the Council for Immigration Disputes, the average turnaround time has now increased from 127 calendar days (in 2017) to an additional 210 calendar days (in 2018). Another striking evolution is that the level of protection – the number of asylum seekers receiving the status of refugee or temporary protection – drops to just 31%. That is the lowest level in seven years and shows that more than ever work must be made of an effective and efficient return policy. There has been no question of this to date. On the contrary, while the budget to accommodate the influx was increased once again, at the same time the funds for the return of rejected asylum seekers and illegal immigrants were drastically reduced. "A nefast signal", says Flemish Interest Group Chairman Barbara Pas. "The latest asylum figures also show that the gun urgently needs to be changed from shoulder and the focus must finally be placed on less inflow and more outflows."