Family reunion still main reason for immigration

Although the focus has primarily been on asylum migration in recent years, family formation or reunification is still the most common reason to settle in the Netherlands. In 2015, nearly twice as many family migrants as asylum migrants registered with a Dutch municipality, according to new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Out of the 159 thousand non-Dutch immigrants in 2015, one-third joined a family member who already lived here. In 2003, as many as half of the migrants came to the Netherlands for this reason. Labour migration increased rapidly from that year onwards, whereas asylum migration reached a peak in 2014 and 2015.

Reasons for migration of non-Dutch immigrants

Most family migrants from Poland

The top five countries in 2015 where most family members migrated from comprised Poland, Syria, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. Nearly 9 thousand family migrants came from Poland. Similar to Poland, India has newly emerged as a migration country over the past fifteen years.

Nearly 4 thousand family migrants arrived from Syria in 2015. These family members used standard procedures for family reunification to enter the Netherlands. In addition, some of the Syrian asylum seekers were joined by their families shortly after they had been granted a residence permit. Under this special regulation, the family members are regarded as following family members and counted as asylum migrants. There were nearly 9 thousand following family members from Syria in 2015.

Main countries of origin of family migrants, 2015
United Kingdom2670152016951965

Employment rate up as immigrants stay longer

In 2005, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom were already among the top five countries of origin with the highest number of family migrants. The other two countries were Turkey and Morocco. Although family reunion was their main motive, around 45 percent of the family migrants from Poland and the United Kingdom received an income that was mostly work-related after one year. This percentage share had gone up to approximately 60 percent after ten years. Of all family migrants who arrived in the Netherlands in 2005, 30 percent made their own living after one year; 47 percent after ten years.

For each year the percentage shares have been calculated on the basis of immigrants from 2005 who were still in the Netherlands in the relevant year. Of all family migrants from 2005, 43 percent had moved out of the Netherlands after ten years.