Alternatives to detention



Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen

There are no legal restrictions or guidelines as to the assessment of the necessity of the detention and possible alternatives. The Reception Conditions Directive is not considered to be applicable to detention situations. There is no legal provision requiring that detention of an asylum seeker be a measure of last resort, nor is any assessment of individual circumstances of vulnerability or the risk of absconding before a decision to detain or prolong detention made in practice.

While detention was originally provided for those who applied for asylum invoking manifestly unfounded grounds, asylum procedures at the border are now generally considered to be procedures on the access of irregular immigrants to the territory, thus allowing detention until a decision has been made on this (or until the maximum detention period has elapsed). The detention measure is not evaluated on its necessity or proportionality by the AO, and the judicial review is mostly limited to the question of legality (see Procedural Safeguards: Judicial Review).1

Nevertheless, alternative measures are provided for vulnerable applicants such as families with children and unaccompanied minors (see Detention of Vulnerable Applicants).

  • 1. See also BCHV-CBAR, Grens-Asiel-Detentie, Belgische wetgeving - Europese en internationale normen (Border-Asylum-Detention, Belgian legislation – European and international norms), January 2012, available in Dutch at:

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti