One in three immigrants leave within six years

Nearly one hundred thousand immigrants arrived in the Netherlands in the first eleven months of 2002. Although most of them will stay in the Netherlands for a long time, some of them will leave again within a few years. One third of the immigrants who arrived in the Netherlands in 1995 - some 75 thousand - left again within six years.

There are considerable differences between the various groups of immigrants. A large proportion (45 percent) of western migrants leave the country again within six years, while for non-western migrants this is much lower: 25 percent.

Immigrants arriving in 1995 who left again within 6 years

Nearly all Japanese and Americans return home

Many western immigrants come to the Netherlands to work and often stay only temporarily. Eighty percent of Japanese immigrants who arrived in 1995, for example, had left again with six years. Three quarters of Americans had left within six years, half of them even within three years. Western immigrants form Poland and former Yugoslavia, on the other hand, are more likely to stay in the Netherlands.

Immigrants arriving in 1995 who left again within 6 years by country of birth

Asylum migrants often stay in the Netherlands

Non-western migrants are more likely to remain in the Netherlands than western migrants. Non-western migrants to the Netherlands include asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. They are less inclined to return to their own countries. Less than ten percent of Afghan and Iraqi immigrants who arrived in 1995 have left the Netherlands. Relatively many Somalians, just over a quarter, leave the country within six years; most do not go back to Somalia, however, but move on to the United Kingdom, one of the former colonial powers in Somalia.

Indians often stay only temporarily

Most migrants from Morocco and Turkey – especially those coming to rejoin their relatives or to marry someone already in the Netherlands – settle in the Netherlands. About fifteen percent of the Moroccans and Turks who came to the Netherlands in 1995 have left the Netherlands again.

Other groups of non-western immigrants show higher leaving percentages: migrants from China, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Many people from India coming to the Netherlands also left again within six years. People in these groups are often labour migrants.

Maarten Alders en Han Nicolaas