Today, 1.6 million first generation foreigners living in the Netherlands have lived here for less than five years. Just over one third have lived here for more than twenty years. According to Statistics Netherlands’ population forecasts for 2004-2050, in 2020 over half of non-western foreigners will have lived here for more than twenty years.
First generation foreigners by period of residence
Surinamese stay longer, Antilleans shorter
Generally speaking, Turkish, Moroccan and especially Surinamese immigrants have lived here longer than other groups of foreigners. This is the result of the labour migration from Turkey and Morocco in the sixties and seventies and the immigration of people from Suriname when the country was declared independent in 1975.
Antilleans and Arubans often come for a number of years, for example to study, and then return to their country.
The group of non-western foreigner includes many asylumseekers who came to the Netherlands in the nineties.
First generation foreigners by period of residence and ethnic origin
Many western foreigners also stay for a long period
The pattern of period of residence for first generation western foreigners differs from that for non-western foreigners. One quarter of western foreigners have lived in the Netherlands for less than five years and that proportion will not change much in the next fifteen years. Most of them come here to work for a few years, sometimes with their partners and children. However, more than 40 percent of western foreigners have lived in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. Ten percent have even lived here for more than fifty years. The latter group includes people born in Indonesia or the former Dutch East Indies who came to the Netherlands in the years 1946–1950, but also a large number of Belgians and Germans who married Dutch partners.
Fewer immigrants than in the past
In the coming decades, fewer non-western immigrants are expected to arrive in the Netherlands than in the past. This is the reason that the number of non-western foreigners who stay for a short time will decrease.
In this period, an annual 37 thousand immigrants are expected to arrive here. In the period 1987–2004 this was on average 52 thousand.
Immigration of first generation foreigners