The number of foreigners (non-Belgian citizens residing long-term in Belgium – editor’s note) and of people of foreign descent (who are Belgian citizens – editor’s note) has risen sharply in Flanders, as well as the number of countries migrants come from, reveal the Flemish Monitor on immigration and integration for 2015. “Flanders is becoming a very diverse society,” highlighted researchers responsible for the study. In the north of the country almost 20% of the population hails from another country.
The total number of foreigners has grown sharply in the past few years. Flanders was home to just over 500,000 foreigners at the beginning of 2015, against 300,000 in 2005. Taking into account people of foreign descent who are Belgian citizens, the number rises to 1.2 million (18% of the Flemish population). A quarter of them come from neighbouring countries. Just under half have European roots.
As for new arrivals, two thirds of them are from the European Union, mainly East European countries. They tend to settle close to the capital or in the provinces of Limburg and Antwerp.