Fewer requests for asylum

In the first half of 2003 there were slightly fewer requests for asylum than in the second half of 2002. Compared to the first half of 2002 the number of requests for asylum fell by more than half

Asylum requests submitted and granted

More stringent laws, more requests granted

A more stringent immigration law was the cause that far fewer requests for asylum have been submitted since it came into force on 1 April 2001. In the second half of 1998 there were almost 27 thousand requests for asylum, whereas the number dwindled to 7 500 in the first half of 2003.

Since the law changed, relatively more requests are granted. In 2002 and in the first half of 2003 more than half of all requests were granted. Previously this was the case in one request in three.

Many Iraqi asylum seekers in 2003

Until recently almost half of all asylum seekers came from one of five countries: Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. In 2002 the share of this top five fell to about one third. In 1998 the asylum seekers were mainly people from Afghanistan and Iraq, whereas recently there are more people from Angola and Sierra Leone.

In April and May there were relatively many people from Iraq who sought asylum on account of the war. There were two and a half times more people than in the whole of 2002. Without the Iraqi asylum seekers the number of requests for asylum would have fallen even more in the first half of 2003.

Top five countries of origin for asylum seekers

Fewer young asylum seekers

Men seek asylum more often than women. In the period 1998–2003 two out of three requests were submitted by men.

The ratio of minors has been falling in recent years. While as in 1998 about 25 percent of the requests were made by minors under 15 years of age, their number has dropped to 20 percent over the last two years. In the 15 -17 age bracket the number of requests for asylum increased to 18 percent until the first half of 2002, after which it fell to less than 10 percent.

Included in the group of minors are the young asylum seekers who are completely on their own (AMA´s). Their share is also falling. These children not only come from Angola and Sierra Leone, but also from the other top five asylum seeker countries, and China and Guinea in particular.

Requests for asylum by age of asylum seeker

Frits Huls