Asylum seeker requests continue to decline
8 March 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The number of asylum seeker applications lodged with Dutch authorities fell by 28 percent in 2003 to 13,402 compared with 18,667 in 2002, a Justice Ministry report indicates.
8 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The number of asylum seeker applications lodged with Dutch authorities fell by 28 percent in 2003 to 13,402 compared with 18,667 in 2002, a Justice Ministry report indicates.
The Netherlands has taken a tougher line against asylum seekers in recent years and restrictive legislation which came into force in 2001 has led to a continued decline in asylum seeker requests since 43,560 applications were lodged in 2000.
The ministry report said the number of unaccompanied asylum seeker children, known as AMAs, fell from 3,233 in 2002 to 1,216 last year. The government's interns AMAs in shelters where they are subjected to strict regimes in the hope that new arrivals will be discouraged.
Most asylum seekers came from Iraq (3,472), followed by Iran (555), Afghanistan (492), Somalia (451), Liberia (441) and Turkey (414), public news service NOS reported on Monday.
The Netherlands declined further on the list of most popular asylum seeker destinations, slipping from seventh to ninth position. France is the most popular asylum seeker country, followed by Britain and Germany.
The ministry's figures also indicated that on 1 January 2003 there were 46,199 asylum seekers being housed in refugee centres. They included 5,016 refugees with a temporary or conditional residence permit.
Sharp criticism was directed against the Dutch government last month after Parliament approved its plan to issue a residence permit to 2,300 long-term asylum seekers, but deport 26,000 others.
The amnesty and deportation plan was drawn up to clear a backlog of cases within the immigration service IND.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news