In 2003 75 thousand immigrants with a foreign nationality came to the Netherlands, i.e.12 thousand fewer than in 2002. Asylum migration In particular dwindled. Family formation immigration however, remained high.
Foreign immigrants by reason for migration, 2003*
Partner from abroad
In the period 1995-2003 family formation migration to the Netherlands rose by more than 8 thousand, thus making it the largest category of immigrants. One in four immigrants come to the Netherlands to marry or live with someone already here.
Most family formation immigrants, one in three in 2003, come from Turkey and Morocco. Second generation Turks and Moroccans also prefer partners from their home countries.
Since 1996 family reunion migration to the Netherlands has dwindled.
Foreign immigrants by reason for migration, 1995-2003*
Substantial decrease in asylum migrants
Due to rigid legislation, fewer and fewer asylum migrants are allowed to settle in the Netherlands. Asylum migrants constituted the largest group in the period 1999-2001 with an average of 24 thousand; by 2003 their number had almost halved, at 13 thousand.
Decrease in labour migration
Labour migration is also decreasing partly because of the less favourable economic climate. In 2001 labour migration still totalled 20 thousand, whereas in 2003 only 16 thousand labour migrants came to the Netherlands,.
However, a rising number of immigrants are coming to the Netherlands to study. In 1995 approximately 2 thousand students came to the Netherlands, but by 2003 their number had risen to 9 thousand.
Family formation immigration largely consists of women aged between 20 and 30, whereas asylum and labour migrants are mainly men. The largest group of asylum migrants are between 15 and 20 years of age. Nearly 50 percent of all labour immigrants are between 25 and 35.
Age distribution family formation immigrants by sex, 2002
Han Nicolaas and Arno Sprangers