Since the 1950s, refugees are invited to settle in the Netherlands under the Dutch resettlement policy. This concerns refugees living in camps who are unable to return home and are not safe where they are. These invited refugees, also known as resettlers, are registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and subsequently selected by the IND during resettlement missions.
Invited refugees are granted an asylum residence permit immediately in the Netherlands. In other words, they do not have to go through the normal asylum procedures and are therefore not included in asylum statistics. In 2017, 30.6 thousand asylum seekers and following family members came to the Netherlands.
Until 2015, the Netherlands accepted 500 invited refugees annually on average. This number has risen since the EU-Turkey Statement came into force on 18 March 2016. According to this statement, for every Syrian being returned to Turkey from Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. In 2016, the number of invited refugees settling in the Netherlands stood at 695. It continued to increase to 2,265 in 2017.
More Syrians and minors
The share of Syrians among invited refugees rose from approximately one-third in 2014 to 96 percent in 2017. The percentage share of minors increased as well, from 39 to 53 percent.