11 percent of asylum status holders in work

One and a half years after they had obtained their residence permit in 2014, an average 4 percent of asylum seekers between the ages of 18-64 were in employment. One year later, the share had increased to 11 percent. Many asylum status holders are still in the process of civic integration at that point. This is indicated by new figures which Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has released as part of a study on asylum seekers who have entered the Netherlands since 2014. The study has been commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), Justice and Security (JenV), Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).

In 2014, 20 thousand asylum seekers received an asylum residence permit. Nearly three-quarters of these asylum status holders are from Syria (10 thousand) or Eritrea (4 thousand). They must have passed a civic integration exam within three years after obtaining the permit. As of 1 October 2016, as few as 6 percent on average had managed to pass this test. This percentage was slightly lower among Syrian and Eritrean status holders (5 and 4 percent respectively).

One in ten status holders are in employment

Two and a half years after obtaining a residence permit in 2014, an average 11 percent of status holders between the ages of 18-64 were either employed or self-employed. However, marked differences exist between the various countries of origin, with employment rates ranging from 6 percent among Eritreans to 29 percent among (a relatively small group of) Afghans. Among the refugees who came to the Netherlands in the 1990s as well, Afghan nationals were relatively more likely to find work than other nationalities.

People in work among 18 to 64-year-olds who were granted an asylum residence permit in 2014
 Syria (%)Iraq (%)Afghanistan (%)Eritrea (%)Iran (%)Other (%)

Out of the status holders who obtained a permit in 2014 and had found a job 18 months later, nearly half were working in the hospitality industry. Other sectors where they are more likely to be employed are the temping sector and the trade sector. After 30 months, 36 percent were still employed in the hospitality sector; the share working in the temping sector had gone up from 17 to 24 percent. In most cases, they have a fixed-term contract and the work is done on a part-time basis. Out of all status holders in work, 6 percent were self-employed after 18 months. This had dropped to 1 percent after 30 months.

Benefit dependency falling slightly

One and a half years after obtaining their residence permit in 2014, an average 90 percent of asylum status holders between the ages of 18-64 were benefit recipients, in most cases of income support. This had declined to 84 percent one year later. Analogous to the higher share of people in employment, Afghan nationals are least dependent on benefits. As many as nearly 90 percent of Syrians and Eritreans were still receiving income support after two and a half years. During the first few months after obtaining a permit, many status holders are still residing at an asylum reception centre, where they receive a living allowance rather than a benefit. Only after they have left the reception centre, they are eligible for income support.

Benefit recipients among 18 to 64-year-olds who were granted an asylum residence permit in 2014
 Syria (%)Iraq (%)Afghanistan (%)Eritrea (%)Iran (%)Other (%)

Similar situation for 2015 status holders

A similar picture can be established for status holders who obtained an asylum residence permit in 2015. One and a half years after obtaining such a permit, 4 percent of the 18 to 64-year-olds were in work while 90 percent were receiving income support. As for status holders from 2015 in work, their situation is again similar to those from 2014: 41 percent were employed in the hospitality sector, 90 percent were working part-time, and 89 percent had a fixed-term contract.

More women and children became status holders in 2016 and 2017

In 2014 and 2015, a relatively large number of young, male migrants received an asylum residence permit. The composition of the migrant influx became more balanced in 2016 and 2017, with more women and children as new status holders. These were partly the following family members of male asylum seekers who had arrived previously, but increasing numbers of asylum seekers came into the country as a family in the first place.

Asylum status holders
 Male (2014) (%)Male (first half of 2017) (%)Female (2014) (%)Female (first half of 2017) (%)
80 years and over-0.04-
75 to 79 years-0.04-
70 to 74 years-0.10-
65 to 69 years-0.23-
60 to 64 years-0.33-0.690.300.36
55 to 59 years-0.73-1.020.440.80
50 to 54 years-1.30-1.660.681.86
45 to 49 years-2.38-
40 to 44 years-3.58-1.931.683.23
35 to 39 years-5.26-1.942.494.02
30 to 34 years-7.19-2.573.594.84
25 to 29 years-9.90-3.394.615.34
20 to 24 years-10.04-3.884.315.17
15 to 19 years-8.35-5.653.724.42
10 to 14 years-4.58-5.363.864.55
5 to 9 years-4.95-6.844.836.22
0 to 4 years-4.29-10.054.629.21