The Housing trajectories of Refugees in Belgium

Authors: Hala El Moussawi*, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Topics: Migration
Keywords: Housing Trajectories, Refugees, Local Refugee Regimes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Balcony A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


War conditions and political crises in Syria and Iraq have displaced millions of people, some of whom have reached Belgium. The mobile and changing post-arrival geographies of these people in the host country remain largely understudied, however, especially once they leave spaces of arrival. This paper is a part of a mobile and longitudinal study to map the trajectories of a panel of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Belgium for an in depth understanding of their situation after leaving spaces of arrival in relation to housing and labour opportunities and lack thereof. It unfolds strategies and tactics of refugees in finding housing, scrutinising their (im)mobility across centres, municipalities, provinces, and regions. It highlights (1) the impact of the Belgian asylum and reception procedures (first location, no choice dispersal, etc.) on the onward locations of refugees, (2) the importance of the networks of family and co-ethnics they come across, or re-unite with after their displacement, in shaping their decisions regarding their onward settlements, and (3) the role of support infrastructures they encounter since the beginning of their journey. It concludes that the focus on the housing trajectories of refugees can allow mapping local refugee regimes formed by state actors, migrant structures, and support infrastructures that shape the post-arrival geographies of refugees in the host country.

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