Fewer asylum requests by unaccompanied minors in 2016

© Ton Toemen
In 2016, 1.7 thousand unaccompanied minors requested asylum in the Netherlands, less than half the number of the prior year. Of all asylum seekers below the age of eighteen, 13 percent travelled alone. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new figures from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

The number of unaccompanied foreign minors reached a peak in 2015 and amounted to 3.9 thousand. In this year, the total influx of asylum seekers was higher compared to the previous years, but also relatively speaking there were many young asylum seekers who travelled alone: one in five underage asylum seekers and 7 percent of all asylum seekers. In 2016, 13 percent of all minors and 5 percent of all asylum seekers were unaccompanied foreign minors. Most unaccompanied foreign minors (63 percent) were 16 or 17-year-olds, 25 percent were at the age of 14 or 15 and 9 percent were younger than fourteen. The age of those of the remaining 3 percent is unknown.

Asylum seekers and following family members
 AdultsOther minorsUnaccompanied foreign minors

Many unaccompanied children from Eritrea and Afghanistan

Children who have Eritrean or Afghan nationality relatively often travel without being accompanied by an adult family member. Of the underage asylum seekers coming from Eritrea and Afghanistan, this applied to 45 percent and 40 percent respectively in 2016. The share of unaccompanied minors coming from Syria was much lower and stood at 3 percent in 2016. This was similar to 2015, when 15 percent of all underage Syrian asylum seekers were unaccompanied foreign minors.

Unaccompanied foreign minors

Out of the 1.7 thousand unaccompanied foreign minors seeking asylum in the Netherlands in 2016, 775 (45 percent) were Eritrean nationals. Slightly under two hundred unaccompanied children each came from Syria and Afghanistan.