Lowest number of asylum requests since 1988

In 2007, the number of asylum requests submitted in the Netherlands had reached its lowest point since 1988. Iraqi and Somali asylum seekers constituted the largest groups.

Sharp increase until mid-1990s

Last year, the number of requests submitted in the Netherlands totalled 9.7 thousand. In 7.1 thousand cases, it concerned first-time requests. The remaining 2.6 thousand concerned people, who had already submitted requests in the past.

The number of requests for asylum has not been this low since 1988. In the following years, the amounts varied strongly. In the first half of the 1990s, for example, the number of asylum seekers increased sharply, partially owing to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the war in the former Yugoslavia.

Peaks and troughs

After 1994, the number of asylum requests submitted in the Netherlands began to decline, but the decline appeared to be short-lived. After 1996, it began to rise again due to the upheaval in Afghanistan and Iraq and the war in Kosovo. After 2000, requests dwindled, partly because the number of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia declined considerably.

Asylum requests submitted in the Netherlands

Asylum requests submitted in the Netherlands

Currently mainly Iraqis and Somalis

Approximately half of asylum requests submitted last year involved Iraqis (2.5 thousand applicants) or Somalis (2.0 thousand applicants). In 2006, these were also the largest groups. Save for Somalis, the number of requests declined across almost all nationalities. The number of requests in this ethnic group grew by nearly one third in 2007 relative to the previous year.

Asylum applicants by nationality

Asylum applicants by nationality

1) Figures for the individual countries are currently not available.

In the course of time, the composition of the group of asylum seekers varied widely. In the 1980s, for example, relatively many asylum seekers from Ghana, India, Surinam, Turkey and former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) came to the Netherlands. In the 1990s, many came from former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

Arno Sprangers and Han Nicolaas