Immigration on course for new record

A record number of immigrants arrived in the Netherlands in 2000: 133,000. This figure is expected to increase further this year, as nearly 137,000 immigrants arrived in the period June 2000-May 2001, compared with 125,000 in the same period last year. This is a 10% increase in the number of immigrants in the previous twelve months.

Immigration, progressive twelve month totals

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Only a small part of the growth is accounted for by the shortage on the Dutch labour market. The increase is mainly in immigrants from Asia and Africa, and these are mainly asylum-seekers and family reunion migrants. Labour migrants come mainly from EU countries, the United States and Japan; immigration from these countries has hardly increased

Mainly from Europe

Half of immigrants to the Netherlands in the period June 2000-May 2001 were born in Europe. Some 23,000 were born in the Netherlands, and returned here after a time spent abroad. Another 22,000 people were from other European countries. These two groups together numbered one thousand fewer than in the same period last year.

Yet another 22,000 immigrants came from other European countries, mainly from central and eastern Europe, 20% more than last year. The number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in particular rose sharply, from 4,000 in June 1999-May 2000 to 7,000 in the period June 2000-May 2001.

Immigrants by country of birth, June 2000-May 2001

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Asians, Americans and Africans

Nearly 26,000 immigrants were born in Asia. This is 4,000 more than one year previously. Afghans constitute the largest group (5,000), followed by Iraqis (4,000). Most of these are asylum-seekers. Three-quarters of the increase in Asian immigrants come from four countries: China, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Over 22,000 immigrants were born in America, over half in the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba or Suriname. The immigration of Antilleans has risen sharply in recent years, to 10,000 in 2000. The increase did not continue in 2001, however.

Just under 20,000 immigrants were born in Africa. Immigration from Africa was more than 3,000 up in June 2000-May 2001 on one year previously. Here again, the increase was mainly caused by people seeking asylum. Traditionally Moroccans are the largest group of Africans arriving in the Netherlands (about 5,000 people every year). Most of them arrive in the Netherlands to join family members already here. Immigration of Moroccans has started to rise again in 2001 after a fall in 2000.

Joop de Beer, Han Nicolaas and Arno Sprangers