Foto omschrijving: Meisje maakt pirouette bij een draaiorgel.

Executive summary

As of 2017, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) follows asylum seekers who have arrived at COA reception centres from 2014 as well as the status holders who have received an asylum residence permit from 2014 onwards, including family reunification applicants and their following family members. This sixth edition of the annual report on this cohort study provides insights into the inflows of asylum seekers at COA reception centres and the composition of the latest status holder cohort, from 2014 to the first half of 2021. Furthermore, this web publication provides an up-to-date account of how the status holders are faring who have received an asylum residence permit since 2014. Figures presented here include the inflow and outflow at COA reception centres, the waiting period for an asylum residence permit, housing, civic integration, household composition, family reunification, education, naturalisation, work and income, health care utilisation and crime. This study has been commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Justice and Security and Social Affairs and Employment.

Described below are recent developments in the latest inflow and duration of stay of asylum seekers at COA reception centres:

  • Annual inflow at COA reception centres lower in 2020 – The total intake of asylum seekers at these centres over the first six months of 2020 was lower than in the previous years. The influx at COA shelters over the first half of 2021 was slightly higher than one year previously. The decrease in the first half of 2020 in particular is a result of COVID-19. Border measures were introduced in many countries of origin and also in the Netherlands. Asylum hearings and court decisions could not take place either and asylum seekers were placed in emergency shelters instead of COA shelters. In Ter Apel, identification and registration were temporarily suspended and asylum applications could not be submitted.
  • More asylum seekers from Yemen – More asylum seekers have arrived from Yemen, especially since 2020. In 2018 and 2019, there was a large influx of asylum seekers from safe countries. Turkey entered the top five of nationalities with the largest inflow in COA shelters as of 2018.
  • Share of following family members rising again – Family members follow the asylum applicants from Syrians and Eritreans in particular. Among Syrian asylum seekers, the share (and absolute number) of following relatives declined between 2016 and 2020 (from 65 to 25 percent). 53 percent of the applicants from Syria arriving in the first half of 2021 were following family members.
  • Relatively large shares of young men – To date, over three-quarters of all asylum seekers are still under the age of 35 at the time of arrival. A noteworthy trend is that the share of men rose to 67 percent in 2020, approaching the level of 2014. Just as in the first couple of years, they are predominantly young men.
  • Almost as many women as men arrive from Syria Among the group of Syrian asylum seekers, the share of (young) men rose to 68 percent in 2020. This picture shows similarities with the very first cohort from 2014. Especially in 2016–2017, women and young children held slightly higher shares than in the previous and most recent years. This is largely due to a relatively high influx of family members from Syria in those two years compared to the other years. In the first half of 2021, 55 percent of the applicants were male.
  • Fewer single Syrian men, fewer Eritrean children In 2020, 42 percent of all asylum seekers travelled to the Netherlands as families. This share stood at 59 percent In 2017 and in the first half of 2021, 54 percent. Between 2020 and 2021, the share of single men among Syrian asylum seekers fell again, while the share of children decreased among Eritreans.
  • Fewer relocations during first six months of stay at COA shelter – Asylum seekers who arrived at COA shelters in the period 2015–2016 still moved to a different reception centre slightly more than once on average during the initial six months of their stay. For those arriving in 2014, the figure was 1.7 times. Since then, the number of relocations during the initial 6-month period has seen a gradual further decline.
  • Smaller shares receiving residence permit within 12 months In the 2018 and 2019 cohorts, for all nationalities combined, the share that obtained a temporary asylum residence permit within 12 months was lower than in previous cohorts. The different inflow cohorts and nationalitiesnoot1) show great variety, with shares ranging between 8 and 98 percent. Only asylum seekers from Turkey arriving in 2019 show a small increase in temporary residence permits relative to the previous cohort.
  • After 6.5 years, still 270 asylum seekers from 2014 cohort at COA shelter without permit This does not mean the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is currently still processing the applications of all these persons. Some remain in a reception centre after being rejected to await their departure, others are pending a court ruling after an appeal. Furthermore, following a rejection, applicants may file another (second or subsequent) asylum application, for example when their situation has changed or because new information has become available about their country of origin.
  • Eritreans arriving in 2016 and 2017 remain at shelters more briefly on average due to more family reunification – For those Eritreans who entered the Netherlands in 2016 and 2017, the situation has improved: of this group, 80 percent had been provided housing within 12 months. This can be explained by the fact that a considerable share of the arrivals in recent years have been following family members.
  • Afghan cohort from 2018 returning/departing less often – Compared to e.g. Syrians and Eritreans, asylum applications by Afghan nationals are relatively often rejected. A relatively large share of the Afghan asylum seekers from the 2016, 2017 and 2019 cohorts in particular had departed within 12 months. The share declined among the cohort arriving in 2018, reaching the level of 2014 and 2015.
  • Fewer following family members among recent cohorts Residence permits (MVVs) are only issued to following family members if the application was submitted by the permit holder within three months after they obtained an asylum residence permit. These MVVs are valid for 90 days only. Any following family members must enter the Netherlands within that time limit. Especially the 2014 and 2015 cohorts of asylum seekers made relatively frequent use of this system.

Described below are recent developments in the housing and civic integration of status holders and their following family members, as well as family reunification applicants:

  • Number of permits granted rising again – In the first half of 2021, the number of permits granted was approximately the same as the average over a whole year in the period 2018–2020. The following family members of status holders also receive a (derived) asylum residence permit and as such are included among the status holders in this study, just as the family reunification applicants.
  • Top five nationalities changingnoot2), top two virtually constant – Except for the most recent period (first half of 2021), the Syrian and Eritrean nationalities have consistently been in first and second place. In 2019 and 2020, the Turkish and Yemeni nationalities appeared in the top 5. In the first half of 2021, the Bangladeshi nationality was in the top two.
  • No more decline in Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish family reunifications – In 2014, 27 percent of the residence permits were granted to following family members. This share rose to 50 percent by 2017, but then declined to 22 percent in 2020. In the first half of 2021, it increased again slightly to 25 percent. Among Syrians in particular, the share of permits granted to following family members has seen a sharp rise; it initially went up, then down (from 31 in 2014 via 60 percent in 2017 to 20 percent in 2020), but has gone up sharply since then, to 42 percent in the first half of 2021.
  • Average waiting time shortest for Syrians due to family reunification – Syrian and Eritrean family members obtain a residence permit relatively quickly. The family reunification procedure results in a shorter average waiting time. Relatively many family members are included in the most recent cohort, particularly among Syrians.
  • Few regional differences There is not much difference between the nationalities and permit cohorts in terms of their geographical spread across the Netherlands. Even four years after leaving the COA reception centres, status holders are still living spread across the country.
  • Status holders increasingly prefer urban life The longer they reside in the Netherlands, the more status holders are inclined to live in a more urban environment. In the 2015 permit cohort, 53 percent were living in strongly or very strongly urbanised areas after two months; this had increased to 57 percent after five years.
  • Status holders predominantly living in rented homes – Of the 184 thousand status holders who received a residence permit in the period 2014 to mid-2021, the vast majority (96 percent) were living in rented dwellings as of 1 July 2021, forming 67 thousand households.
  • Education enrolment increasing An ever larger share of status holders in successtive cohorts is enrolled in education (52 percent in 2021 among the 2017 cohort). Even young people aged 18 and over for whom education is not compulsory are progressively likely to be in education as their duration of stay becomes longer.
  • Enrolment in MBO no longer increasing – Most status holders who complete secondary education then move on to senior secondary vocational education (MBO). As of October 2021, 47 percent of all status holders who received an asylum residence permit in 2014 and were enrolled in education were taking MBO. This is slightly less than one year previously (50 percent).
  • MBO level rising Of the status holders who received a residence permit in 2014 and who subsequently enrolled in MBO, the vast majority were initially enrolled in Level 1. Since 2018, the share following Level 2 education has exceeded the share following Level 1 education. The same applies to the 2015 and 2016 cohorts, but as of 2019 and 2020, respectively.
  • 96 percent of civic integration candidates from the 2014 cohort have met the civic integration requirement – When merely taking into account those in the 2014 permit cohort with a civic integration requirement, 67 percent had passed the civic integration exam (or received dispensation) by October 2021. Twenty-eight percent obtained dispensation. Three percent had not yet passed the exam, but had been given time to do so. Two percent had not passed the exam yet and consequently exceeded the maximum time frame for civic integration.
  • Language level mostly at A2 – Civic integration candidates learn how to read, write and speak the Dutch language to at least A2 level. This is the most basic language level necessary to get by in daily life. Status holders are also able to pursue a higher level, for example when they are planning to enrol in education or find a job after their civic integration. Eighty-six percent of those from the 2014 permit cohort who received a residence permit and who passed the civic integration exam did so at A2 level.
  • Naturalisations increasing – When status holders have been staying in the Netherlands for five years, they can apply for Dutch citizenship under certain conditions. Of the 2014 permit cohort, 77 percent did so successfully within 78 months. The share of naturalisations is highest among Syrian status holders at 88 percent within 78 months.
  • Rise in labour participation stagnating – In the 2014 permit cohort, 40 percent of all status holders aged 18 to 64 years were in employment after 6.5 years. Not only do we see a steadily rising labour participation rate, but the gaps in labour participation among the nationalities have also become narrower. The majority of status holders in employment are part-time workers (70 percent) and 81 percent work under a temporary contract. The increase in the proportion of people in work stagnated over the most recent 18 months. This is likely due to the effect of the coronavirus crisis, which has hit workers on temporary contracts (including accommodation and food services and temporary employment agencies) relatively hard.
  • Share of benefit recipients further down – Ninety percent of all 18 to 64-year-olds who received an asylum residence permit in 2014 were living on a social assistance benefit 1.5 years after. Five years on – 6.5 years after obtaining their permit – that share had fallen to 42 percent, with smaller differences between the various nationalitiesnoot3) .
  • Still few income differences – This is due to the fact that a significant share of the status holders live on social assistance benefits, which are fixed amounts depending on the family situation.
  • Care use not increasing further – 86 percent of all adult status holders (cohort aged 18 and over) who received a permit in 2014 and were no longer staying at a COA shelter by the end of 2015 had health care costs related to GP visits. Two years on (in 2017), nearly 98 percent of the status holders from the 2014 cohort had had healthcare costs related to GP visits. I.e they were registered with a GP. Healthcare use among status holders from the 2014 cohort remained virtually the same throughout 2017, 2018 and 2019. Healthcare use among Eritrean status holders saw the sharpest increase: whereas in 2015, 77 percent had GP-related health care costs, by 2019 this was 97 percent.
  • Share of young people receiving youth care stable – Of all young people (aged 21 or under) who obtained an asylum residence permit in 2014 or 2015 and were no longer residing at a COA reception centre, approximately 5 percent were using some form of youth care in 2016. Two years later, that share had risen to 8 percent. The share remained stable at 8 percent in 2019 and 2020. This refers to care provided to young people and their parents in case of psychological, psychosocial and/or behavioural problems, a mental disability or parenting problems (youth assistance); placing unaccompanied minor status holders under custody (youth protection), and youth probation.
  • Little change in share of registered crime suspects – Male status holders are (still) relatively more often criminal suspects than men with a Dutch or a western migration background, but less often compared to men with a non-western migration background.


Nationality is derived from the country of birth, country of origin, or the original nationality in cases where this nationality is unknown or has changed to Dutch nationality in the meantime.

Nationality is derived from the country of birth, country of origin, or the original nationality in cases where this nationality is unknown or has changed to Dutch nationality in the meantime.

Nationality is derived from the country of birth, country of origin, or the original nationality in cases where this nationality is unknown or has changed to Dutch nationality in the meantime.


Deze website is ontwikkeld door het CBS in samenwerking met Textcetera Den Haag.
Heb je een vraag of opmerking over deze website, neem dan contact op met het CBS.

Disclaimer en copyright


CBS maakt op deze website gebruik van functionele cookies om de site goed te laten werken. Deze cookies bevatten geen persoonsgegevens en hebben nauwelijks gevolgen voor de privacy. Daarnaast gebruiken wij ook analytische cookies om bezoekersstatistieken bij te houden. Bijvoorbeeld hoe vaak pagina's worden bezocht, welke onderwerpen gebruikers naar op zoek zijn en hoe bezoekers op onze site komen. Het doel hiervan is om inzicht te krijgen in het functioneren van de website om zo de gebruikerservaring voor u te kunnen verbeteren. De herleidbaarheid van bezoekers aan onze website beperken wij zo veel mogelijk door de laatste cijfergroep (octet) van ieder IP-adres te anonimiseren. Deze gegevens worden niet gedeeld met andere partijen. CBS gebruikt geen trackingcookies. Trackingcookies zijn cookies die bezoekers tijdens het surfen over andere websites kunnen volgen.

De geplaatste functionele en analytische cookies maken geen of weinig inbreuk op uw privacy. Volgens de regels mogen deze zonder toestemming geplaatst worden.

Meer informatie:


Verklaring van tekens

niets (blanco) een cijfer kan op logische gronden niet voorkomen
. het cijfer is onbekend, onvoldoende betrouwbaar of geheim
0 (0,0) het cijfer is kleiner dan de helft van de gekozen eenheid
* voorlopige cijfers
** nader voorlopige cijfers
- (indien voorkomend tussen twee getallen) tot en met
2016–2017 2016 tot en met 2017
2016/2017 het gemiddelde over de jaren 2016 tot en met 2017
2016/’17 oogstjaar, boekjaar, schooljaar, enz. beginnend in 2016 en eindigend in 2017
2004/’05-2016/’17 oogstjaar enz., 2004/’05 tot en met 2016/’17

In geval van afronding kan het voorkomen dat het weergegeven totaal niet overeenstemt met de som van de getallen.

Over het CBS

De wettelijke taak van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) is om officiële statistieken te maken en de uitkomsten daarvan openbaar te maken. Het CBS publiceert betrouwbare en samenhangende statistische informatie, die het deelt met andere overheden, burgers, politiek, wetenschap, media en bedrijfsleven. Zo zorgt het CBS ervoor dat maatschappelijke debatten gevoerd kunnen worden op basis van betrouwbare statistische informatie.

Het CBS maakt inzichtelijk wat er feitelijk gebeurt. De informatie die het CBS publiceert, gaat daarom over onderwerpen die de mensen in Nederland raken. Bijvoorbeeld economische groei en consumentenprijzen, maar ook criminaliteit en vrije tijd.

Naast de verantwoordelijkheid voor de nationale (officiële) statistieken is het CBS ook belast met de productie van Europese (communautaire) statistieken. Dit betreft het grootste deel van het werkprogramma.

Voor meer informatie over de taken, organisatie en publicaties van het CBS, zie


Met vragen kunt u contact opnemen met het CBS.



Nathalie Boot

Zoë Driessen

Evelien Ebenau (projectleider)

Marleen Geerdinck (plaatsvervangend projectleider)

Corina Huisman

Stephan Verschuren


We danken de medewerkers van de volgende instanties voor hun constructieve bijdrage aan deze en eerdere edities van het Asielcohorten onderzoek:

Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers (COA)

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (EUR)

Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND)

Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid (JenV)

Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap (OCW)

Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid (SZW)

Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport (VWS)

Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM)

Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (SCP)

Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC)