EU Rights Clinic Helps EU Citizens to Appeal Belgian Expulsion Orders

The EU Rights Clinic has assisted a Greek citizen to appeal successfully against a decision to expel him from Belgium. In a judgment delivered on 13 March 2015, the Belgian Immigration Appeals Council annulled an expulsion order that had been served on our client Aristidis, even though he was a worker at the time and therefore could only be expelled under EU law if he represented a threat to public order or public security.

In March 2014, the Belgian Immigration Office had issued an expulsion order against Aristidis on the basis that he no longer had the right to reside in Belgium, because they considered that he did not have any chance of finding work. However, the Immigration Office sat on the decision for seven months before notifying Aristidis of the expulsion order. By the time the expulsion order was notified to Aristidis in October, he had already found full-time work. This meant he should not be expelled from Belgium under the terms of Article 14(4) of the EU’s Free Movement Directive.

The Immigration Appeals Council considered that the Immigration Office had failed to provide any reasons that justified the expulsion order against Aristidis. However, the Council did not go as far as to annul the decision to terminate Aristidis’s right of residence in Belgium. The Council did not consider that the seven-month delay in notifying the decision to Aristidis had affected the legality of the decision to terminate his right of residence. As a result, Aristidis had lodged a further appeal on this point before the Belgian Council of State.

In 2013, Belgium served expulsion orders on no less than 2,712 EU citizens who were considered as no longer having the right to reside in Belgium. A similar number of EU citizens is expected to have been ordered to leave in 2014. The European Commission has launched an investigation into the actions of the Belgian authorities in this regards following a joint complaint submitted by the EU Rights Clinic with INCA CGILFGTB/ABVV and Bruxelles Laïque.

Legal assistance in the case was provided by the Clinic’s Legal Supervisor Anthony Valcke, legal volunteer Giulia Donadi and volunteer advocate Benoit Dhondt of the University of Ghent’s law clinic.

Anyone who has received an expulsion order in Belgium can get free face-to-face advice on their rights by contacting the Europe 4 People Helpdesk.

The views expressed on the blog are personal to the authors and should not be seen as constituting legal advice. It should not be relied upon instead of consulting a lawyer.

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