Fewer asylum seekers and following relatives due to COVID-19

© Hollandse Hoogte / Michel Utrecht
In March 2020, the number of first asylum requests stood at 1,025. This is 40 percent down on the first two months of 2020 and 850 fewer than in March 2019. The number of following family members dropped as well, to 125. This is 26.7 percent of the numbers recorded in January and February 2020. The lower number of first-time asylum applicants and dependents is partly due to the coronavirus crisis. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the latest data on the asylum influx from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

Asylum seekers and following family members
   First asylum requestsFollowing family members
2018January1560700
2018February1200705
2018March1390735
2018April1450620
2018May1575815
2018June1295540
2018July1930565
2018August2025370
2018September2250350
2018October2225350
2018November1840410
2018December1770315
2019January1850270
2019February1660340
2019March1875230
2019April1860215
2019May1645255
2019June1685415
2019July1960460
2019August1880320
2019September2030425
2019October2090400
2019November2075360
2019December1935480
2020January1970465
2020February1515470
2020March1025125
Source: CBS, IND

First asylum requests

In March 2020, the Netherlands received 1,025 first asylum requests. This is on average 40 percent lower than in the months of January (1,970) and February (1,515). The decrease represents a break from the seasonal pattern over the past three years with more asylum requests in March than in February. Year-on-year, there were 850 fewer asylum requests in March 2020.

The decline in March 2020 is linked to the international and national COVID-19 measures.

Syrians remain the largest group

Over the first three months of this year, one-quarter of asylum requests (1,100) were submitted by Syrians. These amounted to 220 in March. There were 290 asylum requests from Algerian nationals and more than 200 from people with Turkish, Moroccan or Nigerian nationality.

First asylum requests, nationality
 Q1 2020*Q1 2019
Moldovan5320
Colombian8525
Afghan15565
Iranian165470
Moroccan235310
Nigerian235480
Turkish255300
Algerian290340
Syrian1100575
Source: CBS, IND

Almost no new asylum requests from Moldovans

In Q1 2020, the number of asylum requests made by Moldovan nationals was almost zero. This number was still 315 in the same quarter last year. Fewer requests were submitted by Iranians and Nigerians: these numbers dropped by more than half. Requests by Afghan and Colombian nationals, on the other hand, increased in number compared to Q1 2019.

Family reunification down by almost 75 percent

The number of following relatives - family members of asylum permit holders to whom a provisional residence permit (mvv) has been granted and who receive a residence permit after entering the country - decreased to 125. This means that family reunification declined by almost three-quarters relative to January and February. Dutch embassies stopped providing a number of consular services due to the COVID-19 measures, also suspending the issuance of mvvs.

In the first three months of this year, 1,060 family members were granted a permit to enter the Netherlands. Nearly half of this group were Eritreans. In addition, over 300 Syrians received this authorisation. Eritrean nationals were still the largest group in March.

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