Asylum applications in Netherlands double in 2008

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The number of people seeking asylum comes mainly from Iraq, Russia and Somalia and do not reflect a sudden, unexpected flood of asylum seekers.

THE NETHERLANDS – The number of applications for asylum in the Netherlands almost doubled last year as compared to 2007, reports the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS).

The CBS report show there were 13,400 asylum applications in 2008, compared to just 7,400 the previous year. The increase was much higher than in the European Union as a whole where overall number of asylum seekers rose by 6 percent.

However, the CBS clarifies that the increase does not reflect a sudden, unexpected flood of asylum seekers.

In 2007, the number of asylum applicants in the Netherlands was at its lowest level since 1988. The figures from 2008, which is still lower than from the beginning of the decade, are lower than the Justice Ministry had anticipated.

A ministry spokesperson said the expected figure for both this year and last year was 16,000, ANP reports.

The majority of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands in 2008 came from Iraq, Russia and Somalia.

The number of asylum applications to the Netherlands is not exceptionally high compared to the rest of the European Union, where France, Italy and the United Kingdom head the list in terms of absolute numbers.

Small countries like Malta and Cyprus receive the largest number of asylum seekers in proportion to their population size.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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