Altogether 2,735 first-time asylum applications were submitted in Q1 2021. This is approximately 30 percent less than in the last quarter of 2020 and nearly 39 percent less than in Q1 2020, when there were 4,470 first-time requests. In the months of January and February 2021, the number of asylum requests was still relatively high.
In mid-March 2020, the coronavirus crisis hit the Netherlands, which led to fewer requests in March and subsequent months. The pandemic most likely continued to affect the number of applications. Although the number rose again in the third quarter of last year, it remained below the level of 2019.
In Q1 2021, the number of asylum requests remained low. The lowest number within this quarter was seen in February (790).
Almost 1 in 3 asylum seekers from Syria
Just as in previous quarters, Syrian nationals constituted the largest group of asylum seekers in Q1 2021 with 900 first-time applications. This is 28 percent (345 applications) less than in the final quarter of 2020. Relative to Q1 2020, the decrease was 18 percent (-195 applications). After Syrians, Algerian and Moroccan asylum seekers formed the largest groups, with 260 and 185 applications respectively.
Compared to Q4 2020, the vast majority of nationalities saw a decrease in the number of asylum requests. The strongest decline was recorded among Turkish nationals (-60 percent) and Algerian nationals (-34 percent).
Compared to Q1 2020, the lower number of asylum seekers with Iranian (-76 percent), Turkish (-62 percent) and Nigerian (-52 percent) nationality is most striking.
Less family reunification
In Q1 2021, the number of following family members dropped to 1,495, i.e. 11 percent down on the previous quarter. Nevertheless, it was higher than in the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, when 845 and 1,065 family members came to the Netherlands respectively.
Around half of the following relatives in Q1 2021 were Syrian nationals (760). In addition, asylum permits were granted to mainly following relatives with Yemeni (195) and Turkish (175) nationality. As a result, Turkish family reunification was nearly 9 times larger than in the previous quarter and 3 times larger than in Q1 2020.