Applications for refugee status drop by 50% in 2020 as Covid closes borders

Refugees protesting about the delays in processing their claims. Photo: Refugee demonstration team

Last year, just over 19,000 people applied or reapplied for asylum in the Netherlands, down some 10,000 in the 2019 total, according to new figures from immigration service IND.

Of the total number of cases, 13,673 applications for asylum were made by new arrivals, almost 1,600 were repeat applications and the rest were made by family members who had come to the Netherlands to join a partner or parent.

The drop is particularly notable in the first half of the year, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and made cross border travel more difficult, the IND said.

The number of refugee requests did pick up again in the second half. Most of the 2020 requests – some 5,500 – were made by people from Syria. Eritrea, Turkey, Algeria and Yemen accounted for the rest of the top 5 countries of origin.

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