Slight decrease in asylum requests in NL last year; more from Syria, Nigeria

King Willem-Alexander at an asylum center
King Willem-Alexander on visit to the asylum center in Ter Apel, 19 Jan 2016 (Photo: @koninklijkhuis/Twitter)Photo: Rotapool / Robin van Lonkhuijsen via RVD, @koninklijkhuis / Twitter)

The number of new asylum seekers and people coming to join family members in the Netherlands decreased slightly in 2019 compared to the year before. The number of asylum seekers from Nigeria and Syria increased the most, Statistics Netherlands said on Tuesday based on figures from immigration and naturalization service IND.

Last year, 2 thousand more people applied for asylum in the Netherlands than in 2018, but the number of people joining family members through the family reunification program decreased by 2,300. That brings the total to some 300 fewer than in 2018. 

Since 2013, people from Syria have formed the largest group of asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Last year 3,700 Syrian people applied for asylum in the Netherlands, 700 more than in 2018. The number of Nigerian asylum nearly quadrupled from 600 in 2018 to 2,100 last year. 

The number of asylum seekers from Moldova also increased significantly, by 45 percent to 1,205. This group is now almost as large as the number of Turkish and Algerian people who applied for asylum in the Netherlands last year, 1,250 and 1,210 respectively. 

Asylum seekers from Eritrea has been the second largest group of asylum seekers in the Netherlands for years. Last year the number of Eritrean people who applied for asylum decreased by more than 900 to 500 people. 

The number of people who came to join family members in the Netherlands decreased mainly due to fewer people from Syria and Eritrea making use of the family reunification program. Last year that number dropped by 800 for both nationalities, though they still account for three-quarters of family reunification refugees, the stats office said. 

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