Help for refugees in Belgium

OCMW/CPAS – real help for refugees in Belgium, where to go

Many organizations have been set up to help refugees from non-EU countries. In Belgium, this is done by OCMW/CPAS – community centers for social assistance. They are part of the state structure, but also work with charitable foundations and patrons. If you need financial assistance, finding housing, social protection, you can contact one of the representations. But before that, it is necessary to study the features of the work of the centers, the requirements for applicants.

Help for refugees from OCMW/CPAS

Community Protection Centers are public Belgian organizations dealing with the rights of refugees and the poor. Their task is to provide the necessary standard of living for people. They determine the amount of the required allowance, control living conditions, provide psychological and medical support. Based on the analysis, a decision is made to extend the residence permit in Belgium, OCMW/CPAS can provide additional services.

OCMW/CPAS functions in Belgium

What tasks does CPAS solve for refugees:

  • Financial support. Calculation and payment of a monthly allowance, registration of an allowance if the level of earnings does not meet the minimum criterion.
  • Search for housing, full or partial payment of rent. Assistance in relocation to other regions of the country.
  • On-site arrangement. Purchase of furniture, essentials.
  • Provision and payment of medical services.
  • Labor market monitoring, job search for refugees.
  • Psychological support.

Particular attention is paid to the living conditions of children. Representatives of the public center for social assistance check the conditions in the apartment or house, provide an opportunity to receive education. If a child needs specific treatment or a course of rehabilitation, CPAS looks for the best ways to solve these problems.

Important: in case of violation of the conditions of stay in Belgium, a warning is first issued, but then you may be deprived of refugee status, deported from the country.

Where to go

The first condition is that you must be in the country legally. To do this, you must go through the registration procedure in one of the centers. In Brussels, it is located at 40 Place Victor Horta, 1060 Bruxelles. After checking the documents, filling out the questionnaire, your case will be considered up to 30 days. Then Annexe 15 or Bijlage 15 will be prepared. This is the primary document for applying for assistance to OCMW/CPAS. It will become the basis for the further issuance of a type “A” permit, which will allow you to live and work in Belgium for up to 1 year with the possibility of extending the status.

Registration at the social assistance center

Refugee Registration Tips:

  • For pre-registration, you can call +32(0) 2-227-41-51.
  • Applications are also accepted by e-mail
  • You can fill out an application on the official website in English, Dutch or French.
  • During the survey, I can provide you with a free translator.
  • The registration center is open from 8:30 to 16:00.

During admission to OCMW/CPAS, only the applicant is admitted. If you are accompanied by relatives, acquaintances, they must wait outside the building. An exception is the reception of refugees with children or relatives with disabilities.

Important: until the decision is made, you can be provided with temporary shelter, food, visits to educational and educational institutions for children.

The procedure for obtaining material assistance

After issuing an “A” card, a current account will be opened for you in a Belgian bank. To do this, you must provide information – permission to stay in country “A”, address of residence, passport. Cash assistance from OCMW/CPAS will be transferred before each month. Its size is pre-agreed. Information about the receipt of funds comes to your personal account, via SMS mailing or e-mail.

How to get refugee allowance in Belgium

By agreement with the public social assistance center, you will pay for living in a rented house or apartment. The alternative is that the funds go directly to the landlord. It is important to consider the cost of utilities. They must be included in the rental price. This is specified in the contract, which must be submitted to CPAS.

If financial assistance for housing and food is not enough for your family, you can apply for additional payments. But they must be justified. As an option – the need for treatment, receiving special education, creating special conditions for one of the family members.

Important: in addition to the standard payments from OCMW/CPAS, it is possible to receive additional financial assistance for children or the elderly.

Additional services and support

Primary assistance for refugees – provision of temporary housing until the application is considered. These can be standard camps with common accommodation or communities that are created on the basis of individual municipalities, towns. The latter option is optimal for integration in Belgium for foreigners. Most of the staff and volunteers are local residents. They will help to adapt to new living conditions, provide material and psychological support.

Additional services and assistance from CPAS in Belgium:

  • Medical Services. Emergency medical assistance can be reached by calling the number provided by OCMW. You do not need to pay for this service. You can also sign up for preventive and curative procedures.
  • Psychological help. These are consultations, individual or group conversations. Relevant for refugees from Ukraine, who most often need such assistance.
  • Acquisition of basic necessities – clothes, shoes, medicines, furniture. You give a list to the center employee, they find options for buying goods.

You can get acquainted with the full list of services and types of assistance during consultations, interviews at the local OCMW center. This approach will help organize integration in Belgium for refugees, increase the likelihood of obtaining permanent residence.