The number of migrants intercepted while transiting through Western Flanders went from a record 7,078 in 2018 to 4,737 last year, the province’s governor, Carl Decaluwé, said on Monday.
In 2017, 4550 undocumented migrants had been intercepted.
In 2019, the highest numbers of undocumented migrants were recorded in January (685) and October (635). About 76% of the migrants were intercepted in and around Zeebrugge. Most were Algerians.
The governor attributed last year’s drop to a number of factors. “Uncertainty over Brexit played an undeniable role. We’ve also observed that the routes have changed and people are crossing over to England more often from France,” Mr. Decaluwé explained.
“For now, it’s hard to predict the effect Brexit will have,” he added. “We are continuing to hold consultations with France and Great Britain to manage things” in the best way possible.