Last year, 11.6 thousand people submitted requests for asylum in the Netherlands, 13 percent fewer than in 2010. Afghans constituted the largest group according to Statistics Netherlands.
There are considerable differences between the numbers of asylum seekers, if nationality is taken into account. The number of refugees from Somalia and Iraq was reduced notably in recent years. At the same time, the number of asylum seekers from Afghanistan has grown. Afghans were the largest group in 2011 (1.9 thousand). In 2009 and 2010, most asylum seekers came from Somalia.
The reduction of Somali asylum seekers is partly due to abolition of the protection policy for special categories of asylum seekers and stricter rules for family reunification. The reduction of Iraqi asylum seekers in 2009 may also partly be due to abolition of the protection policy for this special category of asylum seekers.
Far fewer asylum requests submitted than by the end of the twentieth century
In the 1990s, the number of asylum seekers was much larger than today. In 1994, a total of 52.6 thousand people submitted requests for asylum in the Netherlands. In the past half decade, 12 thousand asylum seekers annually arrived in the Netherlands.