The City of Brussels is preparing to take on extra staff and extend the opening hours of the Immigration Office, Ahmed El Ktibi, the deputy mayor in charge of the registry office responsible for population, indicated on Monday. According to El Ktibi, the office currently serves 115 European and 110 non-European citizens daily.
According to the deputy mayor, several meetings involving management, counter clerks and unions have been held over recent weeks to come up with some concrete measures. This was in response to questions from Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène (MR) about the existence at times of queues of 150 people waiting to be seen at the Immigration Office in the city’s administrative centre.
The City Council recently adopted a plan of action picking up on measures already taken last February. These included the introduction of specific processes of an online appointments booking system for non-European citizens, the setting up of an awareness campaign regarding the behaviour of citizens towards counter clerks, as well as reinforcing existing teams through the internal recruitment of three counter clerks.
The measures also provide for the conclusion of an agreement in principle between senior management at the Departement of Demography and counter clerks at the Immigration Office for Foreigners Outside the European Union (HUE) concerning the opening of counters for non-Europeans in the afternoon from the beginning of May.
But in the coming months, the plan will also focus on the immediate recruitment of 4 more counter clerks, the holding of promotion exams, the setting up of a training course in anger management and conflict resolution, developing the use of cell phones to set up appointments for nationals from outside the European Union and finally the opening of three counters.
Everything is subject to an impact assessment of these measures at the queue level and of the reduction of back-office delay for the end of November. According to El Ktibi, the evaluation will enable it to be determined whether the actions taken are enough or whether there is a need to keep up the effort. The Immigration Office now has 40 counter clerks – not counting the four extra staff envisaged in the action plan – supervised by eight persons in charge of different levels.
The Brussels Times