Refugee numbers in line with last year, well below forecast

Some refugees are living in tents. Photo:

The number of refugees and their family members moving to the Netherlands is likely to be just under 50,000 this year, well below the government’s earlier estimates but slightly up on last year, according to calculations by news website

In total, 49,600 people have come to the Netherlands so far in 2023, compared with 48,600 in 2022, preliminary justice ministry figures show. The total is made up of people applying for refugee status for the first time and close family members who have come to join them.

Government forecasts had suggested earlier that more than 76,000 people could apply for asylum in the Netherlands in 2023.

That forecast led to crisis talks and calls for measures to reduce the flow of new arrivals, following last summer’s chaotic scenes when hundreds of people were forced to sleep outdoors.

The cabinet eventually fell at the start of July after ministers failed to agree on measures to reduce the number of family members applying to join partners and parents. 

What’s all the fuss about immigration in the Netherlands?

Meanwhile some 42,000 refugees and 26,000 family members are still waiting to hear if their asylum applications will be granted, according to new figures from the IND immigration service. 

“The waiting lists have been growing for some time and because the pressure on the IND remains high, the waiting times will continue to go up,” the department said in an update.

Next year the service expects to receive between 49,000 and 76,000 new applications, even though it can only cope with 47,000 a year.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation