Approximately 500 refugees are invited each year by the government to settle in the Netherlands. Over the past half decade, many refugees have arrived from countries like Iraq, Myanmar and Ethiopia.
Refugees invited by the Dutch government by nationality, 2008-2012
One quarter are Iraqi nationals
Approximately 500 refugees are annually invited to settle in the Netherlands. Most of these people have lived under dire conditions in refugee camps for years. In the period 2008-2012, nearly one quarter of them were Iraqi nationals. Proportionally, many refugees invited by the Dutch government came from Myanmar, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Bhutan.
Refugees invited to settle in the Netherlands and asylum seekers not necessarily have the same countries of origin. Many asylum seekers come from Iraq, but relatively few from Myanmar and Bhutan. This is partly due to the geographical location of these countries and partly to poor transport facilities. Unlike invited refugees, asylum seekers come to the Netherlands on their own initiative with or without assistance of people smugglers.
Refugees invited by the Dutch government by age and gender, 2008-2012
As many men as women
Both genders were equally represented among refugees invited in the period 2008-2012. Among the people seeking asylum in the Netherlands in the same period, more than one third were women. The number of children among refugees was also relatively high (40 percent) versus 30 percent among asylum seekers.
Worldwide 28 million refugees under protection of the UNHCR
Refugees invited to come to the Netherlands were previously living in refugee camps under protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UN Refugee Agency estimates the number of individuals forced to flee last year at 7.6 million. The majority stayed in their own country or in one of the adjacent countries. Worldwide, 28.2 million refugees lived under protection of the UNHCR by the end of last year.
Arno Sprangers and John de Winter