Belgium’s Foreign Residents Top 1 Million Ceiling

April 27, 2006: Belgium's Foreign Residents Top 1 Million Ceiling

Belgium's foreign residents top 1m ceiling

27 April 2006

BRUSSELS Belgium has broken through the 1 million ceiling and now has 1,004,071 residents with a foreign passport.

The immigration service DVZ-OE tallied the number of foreigners in Belgium based on data maintained by the population register, which includes Belgians, foreigners and the 'waiting list'.

The register lists both foreigners who have lived in Belgium for years and asylum seekers whose request for asylum has just been approved.

However, the register does not identify immigrants who have been naturalised in Belgium, underestimating especially the number of Moroccans and Turkish people living in the country.

Illegal immigrants are not included either,

unless they have been ordered to leave the country, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Thursday.

The Italian community, with 175,692 residents, is the largest immigrant community in Belgium. France and the Netherlands maintain second and third place respectively with 123,236 and 113,570.

Morocco, Spain and Turkey hold 4th, 5th and 6th place respectively.

Every Belgian municipality has foreigners listed as a resident. The East Flemish town of Horebeke has the smallest number 19. Antwerp, with 71,813, has the most.

Provincially, the Brussels capital region has the highest number of foreigners, with 307,430.

At the end of 2004, the DVZ-OE counted almost 971,000 foreigners living in Belgium. The number of foreigners living in Belgium grows by 20,000 to 25,000 every year.

Researchers said migration for purposes of marriage is a strong source of new residents. But Belgian immigrant residents are not the only ones bringing partners to Belgium from their country of origin.

Native Belgians are also increasingly looking for partners in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]