Asylum applications in Netherlands almost halved in 2016

Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

In 2016 the Netherlands received a total of 31,642 asylum applications, according to figures from the immigration and naturalization service IND. That is nearly half lower than the 58,900 applications received in 2015, NOS reports. 

These figures include first time asylum applications, repeat applications as well as people joining family members already in the Netherlands. The number of first time applications dropped from 43 thousand in 2015 to 18 thousand in 2016, repeat applications dropped from over 1,900 to nearly 1,700. Nearly 12 thousand people came t the Netherlands to be reunited with family members. The largest group of asylum seekers were Syrians with 35 percent, followed by people from Eritrea with 9 percent and people from Albania with 5 percent.

IND director Rob van Lint attributes the decrease in asylum applications to the asylum agreement made between Turkey and the European Union. "That was closed in March and then the influx of asylum seekers, especially from Syria, decreased significantly", he said to NPO Radio 1.