The number of asylum seekers arriving in the Netherlands almost halved in 2016 – but family reunions increased in relative terms, new figures from the immigration service (IND) show.
Overall 31,600 asylum seekers came to the country, down from the 2015 peak of 58,900. The proportion of applications that was approved also dropped sharply from 70% to 54%. The IND said this was due to more applications coming from citizens of designated safe countries.
Syrians made up around one-third of the total number of refugees, followed by Eritreans (9%) and Albanians (5%).
New asylum seekers accounted for 18,170 of all applications, while 11,810 came from relatives of refugees who were already in the Netherlands. There were also 1,660 repeat applications.
The repatriation service Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek recorded 17,000 departures by failed asylum seekers, 47% of whom are supposed to have the country independently and unsupervised. In 13% of cases the applicant left the country by force.
However, the whereabouts of 240 refugees with a criminal record who were supposed to leave the country is unknown, service director Jannita Robberse said at the presentation of the report.
It is impossible to deport some people because their country of origin refuses to cooperate or they don’t have proper papers, she is quoted as saying by website Nu.nl.
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