Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Belgian Service for Foreigners ... an update

Good news from the Belgian office for foreigners ...

Gert contacted various folk about the fax containing two very different reasons for putting on hold my daughter's family reunification with this mother who can't really go home for a few years.

The lawyers who advise on these matters were sure it was wrong, so Gert phoned up the office who agreed a mistake had been made and voila, things were changed immediately and now all we're waiting on is one more surprise police visit, to be sure that she's living with us, then she can stay here in Europe with me.

International relationships, moving countries for your partner, blended families and divorce orphans ... I've learned a lot

I was talking with a woman who has been through some of those things, and I've known Shannon throughout the ups and downs her international relationship ... there's surely a book to be written about it all ... even the odd helplessness the seeps into your life when you're living some place without job or income, dependent on your partner for more than you could ever imagine allowing as an educated independent kind of woman.

And did you realise that if you have a child with a (for example)Belgian, you can't take that child out of Belgium without the father's permission, even if he left you before the baby was born and didn't want you to have it? Quite a lengthy court battle can follow and lies can be told.

Indeed, there's surely a book that needs written.


Peter said...

I guess in the end, your daughter staying in Belgium will not be a problem. It may take some time, it may seem to be be a road full of obstacles, but in the end it will work out just fine.

I wondered if it would have been easier the other way round. At

I noticed that New Zealand is really a very difficult country to migrate to:
"You need to be aged from 20-55 (inclusive). You also have to meet our standards of health, character, and English language proficiency before you start the process."

And that's just the start: next are very elaborate steps: a lengthy application, a point-scoring system base on the jobs/skills NZ needs, a pool-draw (..).

In the end, New Zealand gives only the best skilled migrants a Visa to work.
If a migrant fails to obtain skilled employment within 9 months, he/she is sent back.

Family reunification is also much harder in NZ: for a child to enter, the rules are very strict:

Anyway, I guess many people are now paying a steep price for the "doors are open" policy of Belgium during the previous decades. Belgium just watched 500,000 migrants arrive into the country, most with no knowledge of French/Dutch and hardly any qualifications (NZ would never, ever have allowed them in)

It obviously caused serious problems (complete neighborhoods of Brussels are the living prove), which was "solved" by just giving away Belgian citizenships (the "snel-Belg"/"Fast Belgian" law). If a government simply turns migrants into citizens to solve the major errors made in the past, one must really ask questions about the laws regulating migration.

I know that the child of a Belgian cannot be taken out of the country without permission: a rule intended to prevent heart breaking child abductions (they still go on, many Belgians are desperately trying to find their infants, often abducted by their Muslim father)

I know how complex migration can be: one of my brothers married a non-EU native: the lawyers, the endless messy administration - at least NZ is clear about what they allow.

In Belgium, there is still way too many "interpretation" - a clear cut law might have prevented a lot of ongoing human tragedies.

womanwandering said...

Dag Peter,

New Zealand was as I suspected, it's tough to get into and it's this thing that makes me ashamed. My ancestors took that land from the original inhabitants then we go tie it up with these rules that mean no one else can do it to us ... interesting.

While I understand there are all kinds of reasons to tie up landscapes with constructed boundaries and ideas of ownership, it seems that they also need to make rules banning inter-cultural marriages and relationships. That's the reality of what these immigration laws do people.

Perhaps it's dramatic but so are the results when people move countries in ignorance.

Peter said...

I can almost feel what you're experiencing Di: I also once had a relationship with a "non-Belgian" for many, many years. It were the happiest days of my life.

And I went through the experience you mentioned: I moved countries in ignorance, with rather dramatic results.

Although I "survived" the experience and moved on, there was no happy end.

But then again, given the fact that the "Belgian locals" have a 50% divorce rate without any law forcing them to separate, we are the lucky ones :-)

womanwandering said...

You're right Peter :)