Forecast huge surge in refugees in the Netherlands fails to materialise
The huge surge in asylum seekers coming to the Netherlands forecast by justice minister Fred Teeven has failed to materialise, broadcaster Nos says on Monday.
In October, Teeven said up to 65,000 people could request asylum in the Netherlands this year but the real figure is likely to remain under 25,000.
That is still a large increase on 2013, when 14,400 people applied to stay.
In 2012, there were under 10,000 asylum requests in the Netherlands.
There was a sharp drop in requests at the end of the year, after a strong rise before the summer.
In September, there were 3,000 requests, followed by 2,000 in October and fewer than 1,300 in November.
Teeven said the drop in requests in the final quarter of the year may be connected to the arrival of winter, when fewer people from Africa and Asia attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
However, this has not been the case in previous years, the Nos points out.
In May, Teeven said around 1,000 refugees a week, mainly from Syria and Eritrea, were arriving in the Netherlands, mostly by train from Southern Europe.
The surge led him to step up border controls and increase efforts to crack down on people smuggling gangs.