On 1 January last year, 65 thousand Soviet Union nationals were living in the Netherlands. Among them were 16 thousand children born in the Netherlands. Another 49 thousand Soviet citizens are immigrants. Two thirds of these immigrants have settled in the Netherlands in or after 2000. Twice as many women as men have come to the Netherlands from Russia and the western countries of the former Soviet Union. The majority of these people came for the purpose of joining or accompanying a family member. Most people from the Caucasus coming to the Netherlands were asylum applicants.
Majority settled in the Netherlands after 2000
Among the 49 thousand Soviet citizens living in the Netherlands on 1 January 2012 were 18 thousand men and 31 thousand women. The numbers of male and female immigrants differ most among persons from Russia and the western countries of the former Soviet Union: twice as many women as men from these regions are living in the Netherlands. Among immigrants form the Caucasus region, there is hardly any difference in number between the genders.
Two thirds of persons from the former Soviet Union have settled in the Netherlands in or after 2000. After a slump in the first half of the past decade due to fewer asylum applicants, immigration of Soviet citizens to the Netherlands has grown substantially in recent years. The main reason for the increase is labour migration. Although the share of Soviet immigrants has risen, it is still insignificant compared to the total number of people born abroad who are currently living in the Netherlands.
Persons from the former Soviet Union on 1 January 2012, by year of arrival
Recent peak in immigration from the Baltic states
The number of immigrants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has grown considerably over the period 2006-2010. This is partly due to the entry of the Baltic states into the European Union (EU) in 2004, which makes it much easier for citizens from these countries to travel within the EU.
Many people from the Caucasus came to the Netherlands in the period 2000-2005. The majority of them are asylum seekers, who have fled the ongoing civil war in the Caucasus region. Immigrants from the Baltic states mainly came to the Netherlands to find work of join or accompany a family member. For people from Central Asia asylum and family migration are the main motives.
Persons from the former Soviet Union on 1 January 2011, by year of arrival
Family migration main motive for people from Russia and the western countries
Family migration is the main motive for people from Russia and the western countries of the former Soviet Union, which largely explains why far more women than men from these regions come to the Netherlands. Three quarters of family migrants from the former Soviet Union are women who come to the Netherlands to reunite with their partners or to marry, often with a Dutchman.
Persons from the former Soviet Union by migration motive, 1 January 2011
Suzanne Loozen, Han Nicolaas and Carel Harmsen