Posted on August 11, 2004

Record Number Of Asylum Seeker Departures, Aug. 10

AMSTERDAM — The number of rejected asylum seekers leaving the Netherlands has hit record highs this year, with 2011 having already departed compared with 2,912 for the entire 12 months of 2003.

And a record 353 asylum seekers returned to their country of origin last month, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported on Monday.

The director of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Albert de Dyker, said there is now a definite rising trend in the numbers of returning asylum seekers.

Angolan asylum seekers form the largest group of those voluntarily returning to their country of origin, with 216 departing from the Netherlands this year. They are followed by Serbia-Montenegro nationals (204) and Iranians (124).

Some of the asylum seekers — those who arrived before April 2001 and thus come under the old immigration law — are leaving in anticipation of the forced deportation arrangement that came into force for them from 23 June this year.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk plans to forcibly deport over the following three years about 26,000 asylum seekers who come under the old immigration law. About 5,000 of them have already been officially denied asylum in the Netherlands.

But those who voluntarily return to their country of origin within eight weeks of registering with the Justice Ministry will receive special funding. Since the introduction on 23 June of the forced deportation scheme, 162 asylum seekers have availed of the scheme.

That means that every asylum seeker — besides their airfare and possible compensation for the shipping of household goods — receives EUR 2,320. For a family with two children, the funding amounts to EUR 6,050.

Asylum seekers who do not come under this arrangement receive about half of that amount if they leave the Netherlands on a voluntary basis.

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) started instructing the first group of asylum seekers at the beginning of July to leave the country.

Due to the fact that the south of the Netherlands was the first region to go out on holiday this summer, the IND started by sending letters to rejected asylum seekers in the province of Limburg and Brabant instructing them to leave the country.

The foreign police, IND, municipal authorities and the central refugee authority COA — known as the local task force — have already engaged in the initial deportation talks with asylum seekers in the south of the country.

And the foreign police in the south of the country have confirmed the IOM claim that the willingness among asylum seekers to return voluntarily to their country is strengthening. This is perhaps due to the funding offered asylum seekers if they return voluntarily to their countries of origin.

Since the introduction of the new immigration law in April 2001, the number of asylum seekers entering the Netherlands has fallen significantly, much more than in other Western European nations. A total of 13,402 applied for asylum in the Netherlands last year compared with a peak of 43,560 in 2000.

Dutch Emigrant Surplus At Highest Level Since 1950s, Aug. 10

AMSTERDAM — In the first half of this year, the number of emigrants topped the number of immigrants to the Netherlands by 13,000, the largest exodus surplus recorded since the 1950s, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on Tuesday.

The CBS attributed the figures to a large decline in the rate of immigration and a large increase in the amount of emigrants.

It said 40,000 new immigrants were registered in the first six months of 2004, about 8,000 fewer than in the same period in 2003. The number of immigrants has steadily declined since tougher entry conditions were introduced in 2001.

Among the immigrants, 600 Polish nationals entered the Netherlands in both May and June, compared with between 100 and 200 prior to the expansion of the European Union with 10 new member states on 1 May.

The CBS said figures indicated that the number of immigrants arriving from other new EU member states is considerably less.

In the first half of 2004, about 53,000 emigrants left the Netherlands, 6,000 more than the same period last year.

More than 50 percent of them were born outside of the Netherlands and returned to their country of origin after staying several years in the Netherlands. The emigration of Turkish nationals particularly increased in the first half of this year.

There were 200,000 births last year, 2,000 fewer than 2002 and in the first half of this year, the number of births was 3,600 lower than the same period in 2003. The number of births is not expected to top 196,000 this year.

The CBS attributed the decline in the birth rate to the lower number of women aged about 30, the age that most women become mothers. Lower consumer confidence in the economy also plays a role in lower birth rates some 18 months or two years later.

The decline in the birth rate in the last quarter of 2003 followed 20 consecutive months of falling consumer confidence, the CBS said.

Meanwhile, in the record year of 2000, the Dutch population grew by 123,000, but this had fallen to just 12,000 in the first half of 2004. There are now 16.3 million people living in the Netherlands.