From now on, foreigners residing illegally in Belgium risk a 200 euro administrative fine. This features in De Standaard today (Friday).
The Immigration Office has been able to impose this fine since July 24th.
Immigrants affected may be those entering the Schengen area illegally or who do not return to their country of origin after a three-month stay. However, European citizens who arrive at the airport without valid identity papers, or who have not informed the municipal administration of their residence in the requisite legal timescales, also fall into this category.
“The message should be crystal clear for those coming to our country. They must comply with the rules,” indicates the Office of the Secretary of State for Immigration and Asylum, Theo Francken (of the New Flemish Alliance). “The French sometimes settle here without formally registering. That way they avoid having to pay certain taxes.”
Only the Immigration and Asylum Office has the power to decide whether or not to impose an administrative fine, after checks by the police and the municipal authorities. The administrative fine should be paid straightaway.