Dutch set for record asylum requests in 2015
The Netherlands is set to welcome a record number of asylum seekers in 2015 with some 54,000 people having already been taken in this year, Dutch justice officials said on Monday.
"This year we are expecting to reach a record number of asylum seekers dating back to when they were first allowed into the country" shortly after World War II, said the director of the country's immigration services asylum.
"By mid-November we'd already had some 54,000 requests and we will still need to add December" figures, which are expected to be a few thousand more, Renger Visser told AFP.
The last record was set in 1994 during the height of the Balkans conflict amid the breakup of the former Yugoslavia when the Dutch government received 52,500 asylum requests, Justice officials said.
But an exact comparison is not possible because of changes within the law, officials had stressed.
This year's number also includes for example those requesting asylum for a second time after being turned down by other countries.
The majority of those making up the dramatic increase in migrants seeking asylum this year are from war-torn Syria, officials said.
The weekly average current stands at about 1,700 requests per week, after peaking two months ago at 4,200 per week.
Some 26,170, or 48 percent of all asylum requests came from Syrians, followed by 8,050 (15 percent) from Eritreans and 4,580 (eight percent) by Palestinians.
"We initially based our figures on an analysis based on 2014," Visser said.
"But the influx is turning out higher than expected and we expect similar figures in 2016," Visser said.
© 2015 AFP