This research focuses on the migration of third-country nationals to Belgium. The legal analytic approach as well as the analyses of register data cover migrations from third countries as a whole. Three groups of migrants are then more specifically studied through qualitative and quantitative approaches: migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo, from India and from the United States of America. Several factors have motivated the choice of these three nationalities of origin.
First, this project pays attention to the diversity of the immigrant population by including immigrants originating from both the Global North and the Global South in the analysis.
Then, the three retained nationalities correspond to migrant groups of roughly similar sizes in Belgium. In recent years, international migrations of each of these three nationalities have indeed accounted for between 4 and 6% of all entries to Belgium from third countries. With Morocco (13%) and Turkey (5%), these three nationalities are also among the five nationalities (outside the EU) sending the largest number of migrants in our country. However, despite being currently of the same order of magnitude in terms of numbers of immigrants, there are considerable differences as far as trends over time are concerned. Congolese migrations to Belgium have a long history and they have been largely shaped by periods of crisis and conflict in the country over the past three decades. Migrations of US citizens to Belgium have been relatively constant over the last decades, which is in contrast with the average increase observed for most of other immigrations from third countries. Finally, the rise of Indian migration in Belgium is relatively recent and started in the late 2000s.
The profiles of these migrants are also quite diverse. The legal reasons that lead Congolese in Belgium are mostly family reunification (over 65%) and humanitarian reasons (about 20%). Migrations from India and the US are characterized instead by work-related reasons (between 30 and 40%) and family reunification (between 40 and 50%). These three flows also differ in terms of sex ratios of migrations: women constitute a short majority of immigrations from Congolese and American citizens (respectively 52 and 53% of women), while men are more frequent among Indian immigrants (60% of men).
Source : Rapport statistique et démographique 2013 – Migrations et populations issues de l’immigration en Belgique
(DEMO et Centre pour l’égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme)
Finally, the different legal frameworks to which they are subjected justifies the choice of those three nationalities. The statuses at entry and the facilities for access to some services and public benefits for Congolese, Indian and US citizens are indeed very different.