Most Eritrean, Syrian status holders from 2015 living in the Netherlands

© Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing
Of all people with Syrian or Eritrean nationality who applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2015, more than 9 in 10 were living independently within a municipality at the end of June 2021. Some of them had obtained Dutch citizenship through naturalisation. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the cohort study ‘Asylum and Integration, 2022’.

Every year, CBS studies how the asylum seekers are faring who have arrived in the Netherlands since 2014. This study has been commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) and Justice and Security (JenV). This news release highlights developments among the Syrians and Eritreans who applied for asylum or obtained a residence permit in 2015 (status holders).

Almost 7 in 10 asylum applicants were Syrians or Eritreans

In 2015, there was a peak in the number of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands; 29.7 thousand people with Syrian nationality and 7.9 thousand with Eritrean nationality applied for asylum here. They accounted for 55 and 15 percent respectively of all asylum requests that year. Both nationalities still held relatively large shares in subsequent years. Part of the applications were submitted for relatives who followed the status holders.

Asylum requests1) by nationality
JaarSyrians (x 1,000)Eritreans (x 1,000)Other (x 1,000)
First half of 20214.0800.8554.130
1)asylum seekers and following family members

Over 6 in 10 left shelter within 12 months

In 2016, i.e. one year after their asylum request was submitted, 67 percent of Syrian and 61 percent of Eritrean asylum seekers and their following family members were residents living independently in a Dutch municipality. Among the other nationalities, 16 percent were living independently in a municipality after one year. Among this group of various nationalities, 42 percent were no longer registered in the Netherlands while another 42 percent were still staying at a reception centre of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum seekers (COA), mostly without a residence permit. Relatively many were people whose first (or subsequent, if any) asylum application was rejected.

After another 4.5 years, 93 percent of the Syrians and 95 percent of the Eritreans who arrived in 2015 as asylum seekers or following family members were no longer living in a reception centre, but had their own housing. A small share had left the country in the meantime: 7 percent of the Syrians and 5 percent of the Eritreans. Among the other nationalities with asylum requests in 2015, 42 percent of applicants were living in their own housing by mid-2021. Slightly over half (52 percent) were no longer registered.

Living situation of asylum seekers who entered a COA shelter 1) in 2015
VerblijfssituatieMunicipal resident (%)At COA with permit (%)At COA without permit (%)Departed (%)Deceased (%)
After 12 months
After 66 months
1)COA: Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers

More naturalised Syrians than Eritreans

In 2015, altogether 21.7 thousand Syrians, 6.3 thousand Eritreans and 4.9 thousand people with another nationality obtained a residence permit, making them status holders. 41 percent of the status holders from Syria and 11 percent of Eritrean status holders had become naturalised citizens 5.5 years later. Naturalisation is possible if someone has five years of continuous residence in the country and has passed the civic integration examination. Syrian asylum seekers passed their examination more often en more quickly than Eritrean asylum seekers.

Civic integration of status holders from 2015, October 2021
NationaliteitHave passed examination/received dispensation (% of status holders with civic integration requirement)Have received exemption (% of status holders with civic integration requirement)Have not passed examination (% of status holders with civic integration requirement)Have exceeded deadline (% of status holders with civic integration requirement)

Fewer benefit recipients after five years

Among the asylum seekers who obtained a residence permit in 2015, 53 percent of the Syrians and 64 percent of the Eritreans were living on a benefit as their main source of income one year onward. Four years later, these shares had dropped to 32 and 37 percent, respectively. The share of Eritreans with work as main source of income was up in particular: from 0.5 percent after one year to over 30 percent five years after obtaining their residence permit. Differences in main source of income are mainly due to a different age distribution between the various nationalities. For example, there is a higher proportion of children among Syrian status holders than among Eritrean status holders.

Main source of income, status holders from 2015
NationaliteitBenefit/pension (%)In employment (%)In education (%)No income (%)Departed/deceased (%)Unknown (%)
After 12 months
After 60 months


The publication Asylum and integration, 2022 sheds light on the influx of asylum seekers at COA reception centres as well as the composition of the newest group of status holders. Figures presented here include the inflow and outflow at COA reception centres, the waiting period for an asylum residence permit, housing, civic integration, household composition, family reunification, education, naturalisation, work and income, health care utilisation and crime. All figures are displayed on the dashboard (Dutch only).