The Reception Act requires Fedasil to provide the asylum seeker with an information brochure on the rights and obligations of the asylum seekers as well as on the competent authorities and organisations that can provide medical, social and legal assistance, in a language he or she understands (see section on Information to Asylum Seekers and Access to NGOs and UNHCR). The brochure “Asylum in Belgium” currently distributed is available in ten different languages and in a DVD version. These brochures are being distributed in the reception facilities.
As for the specific rights and obligations concerning reception conditions, the asylum seeker also receives a copy of the house rules available in different languages. According to the Reception Act this should be a general document applicable in all reception facilities and regulated by Royal Decree. In 2018 a Royal decree and a Ministerial Decree were published to this end. (See Sanctions for violation of house rules).
This written information, although handed over to every asylum seeker, is not always adequate or sufficient in practice, since some asylum seekers need to have it communicated to them orally in person or have it repeated several times, inter alia due to the fact that some asylum seekers are illiterate. Fedasil launched an AMIF-founded project (‘Amica’) in collaboration with some universities, in the context of which 3 videos about the “Day 0” (day of registration of the asylum application and first access to the reception network in the arrival centre) were developed that were made available on the Fedasil website in the course of 2022. The website is to be accessible via QR-codes displayed in and around the arrival centre. Audio-tours in 14 different languages are available in the arrival centre, providing information about this “Day 0”.
The law foresees that asylum seekers accommodated in one of the reception structures should have access to the interpretation and translation services to exercise their rights and obligations. In practice, however, the number of interpreters available in many reception structures is insufficient.
Impact of the reception crisis (2021 – 2023)
Single male applicants for international protection who do not receive shelter, do not receive the above information. The Immigration Office informs them about the waiting list with a general information leaflet about the shortage of places. This leaflet contains a QR-code that directs applicants to the waiting list.
 Article 14 Reception Act.
 Article 19 Reception Act.
 Article 15 Reception Act.