Family reunification driving force behind Netherlands immigration

Integration exam
Image from a video portraying students during the integration exam (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). (Image from a video portraying students during the integration exam (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs))

Family reunification is still the main reason for immigrants to come to the Netherlands, according to Statistics Netherlands. Even at the peak of the asylum crisis in 2015, there were twice as many family reunification immigrants as asylum seekers given a residency permit, the statistics office said on Monday based on new figures.

In 2015 a total of 159 thousand immigrants moved to the Netherlands. A third of them came to join a family member already living in the Netherlands. The rest came to the Netherlands for work, studies or to apply for asylum. 

Most of the family reunification immigrants in 2015 came from Poland, Syria, Germany, India and the United Kingdom, in order. Nearly 9 thousand came from Poland. Some 4 thousand people from Syria moved to the Netherlands in 2015 to join family members, using the regular procedure. Another 9 thousand Syrians joined family members in the Netherlands using a special procedure set up for the asylum crisis. These 9 thousand people were registered as asylum immigrants, instead of under family reunification.

In 2003 half of all immigrants to the Netherlands came for family reunification. 

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