The Holsbeek centre for returning asylum seekers (in Flemish Brabant) will shut. The State Secretary for Asylum and Immigration, Theo Francken (New Flemish Alliance), has transferred the open centre’s team, the Het Nieuwsblad reported on Monday. The State Secretary is said to urgently need staff at other detention centres. He has therefore shut the open centre for failed asylum seekers, put in place by his predecessor Maggie De Block (Open VLD). The former State Secretary for Asylum and Immigration opened the centre just two years ago, to accommodate families that had voluntarily agreed to go return to their home country.
The Unions strongly disagree with Theo Francken’s decision. “This decision was made on Saturday. We will be transferred as early as Monday”, says Mark Saenen, from the Flemish branch of the CSC. “There has also been no coordination”, he says. It is not yet known if the centre’s closure is temporary or definitive. But Theo Francken has never hidden the fact that he was against this open centre.