Ukrainian refugees stepping into Belgium are allowed to residence permits, a living wage as well as medical care, among others, but to get there, they have to go through an administrative jungle, which in Antwerp has proven more difficult than in other places.
As per the report, host families who receive Ukrainian refugees complained about the “extremely slow handling” of administrative dossiers by the city services, arguing that the amount of red tape is causing financial issues. This was confirmed by Vasyl, a Ukrainian refugee in Brussels.
“People are given an appointment to receive the needed documents in two or three months. One man who came here with his wife and children contacted me for help because he couldn’t get an appointment before 7 June,” Vasyl said.
He said that he and his partner “faced the Belgian bureaucracy and the deceit of civil servants in the communes” in Brussels but that there were much worse situations in other communes and cities.
“The man in Antwerp can’t get financial help for his family, he can’t go get a job, he can’t open a bank account, he just has to sit at home to wait until 7 June. It is clear they are creating conditions so that people would get fed up and leave the country or city,” he added.
Antwerp’s administration has reportedly had to process 3,000 files of Ukrainian refugees in recent weeks, which has proven to be a particularly difficult task. If the documents are not processed, refugees cannot get a job or financial aid, resulting in some host families getting into financial difficulties.