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    Asylum requests back to ‘regular’ numbers in May

    The number of requests for asylum in Belgium dropped in May. Credit: © Belga

    The number of asylum requests in Belgium dropped by 20% in the month of May, in what immigration authorities call a return to “normal” figures.

    Last month, 1,813 people requested asylum in the country, as opposed to 2,247 in April, in what Belgium’s Immigration Office says is a drop of 20%.

    The sharpest drop is registered among Syrian refugees, as the number of asylum-seekers from the war-torn country was halved in comparison to last year’s figures.

    Syrians (158) now constitute the third-largest national group of asylum-seekers in Belgium, behind Afghans (248) and Palestinians (199).

    While the numbers appear to be on the decline, authorities say they are still working beyond their capacity.

    “We have felt the decline but the number of new arrivals is still higher than the number of departures,” Benoît Mansy of the Federal Asylum Agency said.

    Following the approval of a measure to reinforce federal asylum agencies, Secretary for Migration, Maggie De Block, said that asylum reception centres should receive backup “very soon.”

    “That way the people who ask for asylum can quickly receive an answer,” she said, adding that those with no claim to asylum should “leave the country as soon as possible.”

    The Brussels Times