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Web magazine, 05 August 2002 10:00

Increasing share of asylum seekers in immigration

In 2001 about 29% of the non-Dutch immigrants were asylum seekers. Three years ago this was still 22%. Family reunification is less often the motive to immigrate to the Netherlands.

Work, family or asylum

In 2001 about 133 thousand immigrants came to the Netherlands, matching the record of 2000. About 94 thousand of all immigrants in 2001 had a non-Dutch nationality (2000: 91.000). 29% of them came to the Netherlands as asylum seeker, 22% to get married or live together (family formation), 20% to work and 15% for family reunification. Other reasons why immigrants came were study, working as au pair or trainee, or for leisure.

Non-Dutch immigrants by migration motive, 2001

Number of migrants seeking asylum down slightly

In 2001 there were about 27 thousand migrants seeking asylum. This was down slightly on 2000. In the second half of the nineties the average number of asylum seekers was less than 20 thousand a year. The number of asylum migrants is lower than the number of people actually requesting asylum. This is because not all requests for asylum are accepted. The share of asylum seekers from the ‘traditional’ countries of origin such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia was less in 2001 than in the mid to late nineties. The countries of the former Soviet-Union, but also Angola, Sierra Leone and the Sudan play a greater role in asylum migration as far as numbers are concerned. Although there is no information about migration motives available yet on 2002, the expectation is that the number of asylum migrants will be lower. In the first six months of 2002 far fewer immigrants came to the Netherlands from the ‘asylum countries’ Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. The migration balance (immigration minus emigration) of people born in Somalia was actually negative.

Asylum migrants by country of birth

Family formation greater than family reunification

In the second half of the nineties family reunification migration for the purpose of still outnumbered migration for family formation. Currently the migration for the purpose of family formation has started to outnumber the immigration for family reunification. In 2001 some 14.2 thousand non-Dutch immigrants came to the Netherlands for family reunification and 20.4 thousand for family formation, many of whom come from Turkey and Morocco. In 2001 3.3 thousand Turkish and 3.2 thousand Moroccan people came to the Netherlands to form a family. The family reunification from these countries involved 1.0 thousand and 1.2 thousand people.

Migration motives of non-Dutch people

More people migrating for work

The number of non-Dutch immigrants who came to the Netherlands for work doubled between 1995 and 2001 due to the economic boom and labour shortages. Most labour migrants come from the other EU countries (11.5 thousand in 2001). Relatively many people come here for work from other western countries such as the USA.

Han Nicolaas and Arno Sprangers

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