Last year, nearly 15 thousand first-time requests for asylum were submitted in the Netherlands, an increase by 11 percent relative to 2008. More than half of asylum seekers came from Iraq or Somalia.
15 thousand first-time asylum requests in 2009
Altogether, 16.2 thousand requests for asylum were submitted in the Netherlands last year; 14.9 thousand were first-time requests, the remaining 1.3 thousand concerned people who had submitted requests before. Most asylum seekers came from Somalia or Iraq.
Asylum requests submitted by Iraqis and Somalis
Somalis constitute the largest group
In 2008, Iraqis constituted the largest group. After the protection policy for special categories was abolished for asylum seekers from Central Iraq in November 2008, the number of Iraqi asylum seekers dropped steeply. Since then, Somalis constitute the largest group. In May 2009, the protection policy for special categories was also lifted for asylum seekers from Central and South Somalia.
Requests for asylum since 1985
Inflow has varied considerably since the 1990s
On account of the situation in the countries of origin and the immigration policy practiced in the countries of destination, the inflow of asylum seekers has varied considerably over the years.
The sharp increase in the first half of the 1990s was partly caused by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the war in former Yugoslavia. The increase after 1996 was connected to the state of disorder in Afghanistan and Iraq and the war in Kosovo. In recent years, the inflow of asylum seekers into the Netherlands is in the range of 10 thousand annually.
Arno Sprangers and Han Nicolaas