Today (Friday), the Council of Ministers approved the moving forward of draft legislation, aiming to eradicate the legal recognition of children of convenience, also known as so-called “document-babies”. The government states that it is concerned following its need to take action targeting both marriages and legal cohabitations of convenience. It is worried since individuals wishing to obtain residence documents in Belgium are trying to achieve this end, by using children who do not belong to them.
The draft legislation includes both a preventive element and a repressive element.
Raising awareness amongst those affected by the phenomenon is particularly important.
In this sphere, it is also expected that connecting factors will be taken into account.
It is thus anticipated that there will be a commune for registration, being the registration of the applicant or the child on the communal register or their place of birth.
The measure aims to avoid the situation of applicants going from commune to commune, until they are accepted by a given local government body.
On the repressive front, the draft legislation aims to sanction abuses and the legal recognition of “document-babies”, even after a certain lapse of time.
Data relating to the legal recognition of “document-babies” will also be integrated in the national register, in the way that data for marriages of convenience and for legal cohabitations of convenience is already.
Moreover, “legal recognition of ‘document-babies’” and “attempts at” legal recognition of ‘document-babies’ will be penalised by the law relating to those residing in Belgium illegaly without documents.
This is by analogy with both marriages and legal cohabitations of convenience.