Belgium’s government has announced an agreement over new rules on dealing with illegal immigrants.
The issue has sharply divided the country’s ruling coalition over the last two years and it took a long night of negotiations to reach a deal. It sets out the conditions under which residency permits can be given. Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy declared himself pleased with the new regulations. There will be no mass amnesty for those living in Belgium without residency permits, but applications will be treated on a case by case basis. Among those who can expect a favourable outcome: long-term residents, parents of Belgian children, parents of children at school, those with work contracts and those whose applications have taken an excessive amount of time.