The number of requests for asylum submitted in the Netherlands in 2008 nearly doubled compared to 2007. The increase is much more substantial than in the European Union (EU) as a whole, where the number of asylum requests rose by 6 percent. Most asylum seekers coming to EU were Iraqis.
Asylum requests in the Netherlands soaring
Last year, 13.4 thousand first requests for asylum were submitted in the Netherlands, nearly twice as many as in 2007. In that year 7.4 thousand people submitted a request, the lowest number since 1988.
Asylum requests in the Netherlands
Slower growth rate in the EU
Altogether, 238 thousand people submitted asylum requests in the EU 27, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is an increase by 6 percent relative to 2007, but the number of requests in the Netherlands and the EU is still far below the level around the turn of the century.
Asylum requests in the European Union
Most requests submitted in France
In the EU, France was the country where most requests were submitted in 2008. The amount rose from 29.4 thousand in 2007 to 35.2 thousand in 2008. In the period 2004-2006, the highest number of requests for asylum was also recorded in France.
Next to the Netherlands, Italy also faced a sharp increase in asylum requests from 14.1 thousand in 2007 to 31.2 thousand in 2008. Although Sweden had the highest number of asylum seekers in 2007, the number of requests declined considerably from 36.4 to 24.4 thousand,.
Asylum requests in the EU 27
Malta has highest number of asylum seekers in relation to its population
With a ratio of 6.4 and 4.6 per 1,000 inhabitants respectively, the small European countries of Malta and Cyprus had the highest number of asylum seekers in 2008. France, which had the largest number in absolute terms, is in the middle bracket with 0.6 requests per 1,000 inhabitants. The ratio for the Netherlands was 0.8 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2008.
Most requests for asylum in the EU submitted by Iraqis
Last year, 27.7 thousand Iraqi asylum seekers came to the EU, making Iraq the key source country for asylum seekers. With 18.2 and 17.1 thousand respectively, the number of asylum seekers from Russia and Somalia was also high.
Arno Sprangers, Han Nicolaas and Joke Korpel
Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)