More status holders in paid employment

Status holder at work
© Hollandse Hoogte / Marcel van den Bergh
In 2022, the number of status holders in paid work increased compared to the previous year. Of the status holders who obtained an asylum residence permit in 2014, 45 percent had a job by mid-2022. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the cohort study ‘Asylum and integration, 2023’.

Every year, CBS studies how asylum seekers who have come to the Netherlands since 2014 are faring. This study has been commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) and Justice and Security (JenV).

Fewer residence permits for Syrians and Eritreans

In the period 2014 to June 2022 inclusive, nearly 285 thousand asylum seekers reported to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). Most of them come from Syria and Eritrea. Other large groups of asylum seekers are from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Yemen. The number of asylum seekers from the latter two countries has risen in recent years.

Of these 285 thousand asylum seekers, over 215 thousand obtained a residence permit. More than half were granted to Syrians and 16 percent to Eritreans. More asylum seekers received a permit during the first six months of 2022 than in the previous four years. The share of residence permits granted to people from Syria and Eritrea declined. More permits were granted to asylum seekers from Turkey and Yemen. Once asylum seekers are granted a residence permit, they are status holders.

Granted residence permits by nationality
Categorie 1Syria ( x 1,000)Eritrea ( x 1,000)Afghanistan ( x 1,000)Iraq ( x 1,000)Iran ( x 1,000)Turkey ( x 1,000)Other/unknown ( x 1,000)
First half of 20228.4200.8201.3550.2900.3801.9056.900

Status holders find work faster

The proportion of status holders in employment increases the longer they have been in the Netherlands. Status holders who recently received a residence permit have also found a job increasingly fast over the past few years. For example, nearly 20 percent of asylum seekers who obtained a permit in 2019 had found a job after two and a half years. Among the 2014 cohort, this was 11 percent. During the coronavirus pandemic, status holders found a job less easily, mainly because they often have flexible contracts and work in vulnerable industries, especially temporary employment and accommodation and food services.

Status holders in work
JaarPermit in 2019 (%)Permit in 2018 (%)Permit in 2017 (%)Permit in 2016 (%)Permit in 2015 (%)Permit in 2014 (%)
1 year after obtaining permit4.
2 years after obtaining permit12.711.31211.98.56.4
3 years after obtaining permit19.418.225.722.317.7
4 years after obtaining permit24.531.435.133.5
5 years after obtaining permit35.235.642

Eritreans and Afghans most likely to have jobs

Of all status holders, Eritreans are most likely to be in paid work. After seven and a half years, just over 60 percent of this group have a job. This percentage is higher compared to status holders of other nationalities. Afghan nationals are the fastest in finding work: nearly 1 in 3 have a job after two and a half years. This is almost three times the average for all status holders. After seven and a half years, nearly half of all Afghan status holders have a job, more than the average for all status holders (44 percent).

Status holders in work by nationality, 2014 cohort
Nationaliteit30 months after obtaining permit (%)90 months after obtaining permit (%)

Work becoming increasingly important

Status holders often start out as on-call workers or with another temporary contract, working at relatively low hourly wages. As they work longer, they are increasingly likely to receive permanent contracts. Their hourly wage then becomes higher and they work more hours.

The socio-economic position of status holders has also improved noticeably. For example, their benefit dependency has dropped significantly and work has become more often their main source of income. In 2016, benefits were the main source of income for 60 percent of the status holders who received a residence permit in 2014. This was slightly more than 80 percent among Eritreans. However, five years later and seven years after obtaining their residence permit, income from work had become their main income source.

Main source of income, 2014 cohort
SyriaAfter 2 years60.21.5
SyriaAfter 7 years31.426.1
EritreaAfter 2 years82.60.5
EritreaAfter 7 years27.453.2
IraqAfter 2 years71.13.1
IraqAfter 7 years39.322.6
IranAfter 2 years71.13.1
IranAfter 7 years4030.6
AfghanistanAfter 2 years496.4
AfghanistanAfter 7 years30.332.8
TurkeyAfter 2 years30.68.3
TurkeyAfter 7 years30.619.4
OtherAfter 2 years44.92.3
OtherAfter 7 years25.624.2
TotalAfter 2 years61.81.7
TotalAfter 7 years3031.4

The publication Asylum and integration, 2023 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. This publication also includes a separate chapter on Ukrainians. All figures are displayed on the dashboard (Dutch only).