Each morning dozens of asylum seekers queue outside the Brussels immigration department offices hoping to be allotted a bed for the night. The Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (FEDASIL) runs 18 centres with 3,700 beds, but these are already overcrowded. To complicate matters, the agency is strapped for cash and the shortage of places in homeless shelters and reception centres in the capital means that some asylum seekers are forced to sleep rough.

In 2007 Belgium approved the application for asylum of over 2,000 asylum seekers, or around 20 per cent of the total number of requests.