Social orientation in Belgium
Belgium is a federal state which means that several policy domains are legislated by the regions or communities. Integration and civic integration policy is therefore characterised by fragmentation. Policies in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels differ from one another. In short, Flanders and Wallonia have their own integration policies and in Brussels, both policies are in place although until today non-compulsory. In the RACCOMBAT research programme, information will be provided for Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, focusing on integration trajectories and social orientation courses in particular.
In Flanders, societal orientation is a component of a wider civic integration policy, which is part of a still wider integration policy. Civic integration policy is made up of 5 components: social orientation (MO), Dutch language classes (NT2), counselling towards work, personal general counselling during the process and the obligation to show personal results. Most recent legislation dates back to 2013.
In Wallonia, civic integration policy was implemented in 2016. The programme is compulsory and divided into two phases. First, there is a personal welcome module: a free and individual social assessment, the purpose of which is to determine the individual’s personal and professional programme, information on rights and obligations in Belgium, and guidance on social and administrative aspects, depending on the needs identified. Secondly, a settlement agreement is signed between the new migrant and the regional integration centre which gives new migrants the following, free services: language training, social and professional guidance, and citizenship training. The settlement programme is tailored to each individual and provides guidance in line with the identified needs (language, work, accommodation, family, health, leisure etc.).This agreement lasts maximum 18 months.
In Brussels, non-nationals are allowed to choose between the Flemish and Walloon integration trajectory although participation is not obligatory. This way, non-nationals choose a focus on either Dutch or French-speaking integration. This can be a very important choice for them, since not only the language is different but also the way in which the integration trajectories are set up.