2017 Immigration Services Report: Number of asylum seekers holding steady, composition has changed

The total volume of asylum seekers – consisting of first-time and repeat applications and family reunifications – registered by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in 2017 was virtually identical to that of the previous year. This was the conclusion of the 2017 Immigration Services Report. If relocation and resettlement figures are included, the number of applicants increases to 35,030, as compared to 33,570 in 2016. The number of family members joining refugees and asylum seekers rose from 11,810 in 2016 to 14,490 in 2017. The increase in the number of family reunification applicants is the result of the increased influx of asylum seekers, particularly in 2015.


As compared to the previous year, the flow of people into facilities of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) showed a marked decrease in 2017. Municipalities have also made additional efforts to ensure a larger group of permit holders moves out of reception facilities and into the surrounding municipalities. As of 31 December 2017, reception facilities housed some 20,960 occupants, which is a 22 percent decrease compared to 31 December 2016.


As a result of the declining number of asylum seekers and the changing composition of that group, both the number of foreign nationals beginning a departure procedure and the total number of departing foreign nationals have decreased during this reporting period. Last year, the total number of departures of foreign nationals who had been residing in the Netherlands unlawfully was 15,120 (as opposed to 17,390 in 2016). Of these foreign nationals, 3,400 left the country independently in a verifiable manner and 2,700 underwent enforced repatriation. This marks the first increase in the number of enforced repatriations since 2012. Unlike previous years, the number of foreign nationals taken into custody increased last year as well. The effectiveness of departure from custody has also improved. The percentage of departures from custody in a verifiable manner increased to 73% in 2017. This had been 70% in the preceding year.

Overview of incidents

This edition of the Immigration Services Report also includes an overview of all registered reports and incidents in and around COA locations. The reports are based on registration by the COA, the police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM). Incidents registered by the COA have decreased proportionally along with the number of occupants. In 2017, the average number of occupants was 22,000: 40% fewer people than in 2016. The number of incidents registered by the COA in 2017 is also 40% lower. This decrease in occupancy rate is reflected in the number of police registrations as well, as 2017 saw 40% fewer registrations than 2016. Of the total number of police registrations in 2017, the majority involved assistance and miscellaneous reports (55.6%). This includes assistance provided at a location by the police following a report, assistance provided to an external agency and missing property reports.