Photo description: Two passports in a drawer, which need to be taken out before any travel abroad.


Migration is a salient topic for many Europeans. Which EU countries have had more immigrants than emigrants, hence showing positive net migration? What about in the Netherlands? How many non-EU nationals are entering the EU and how much migration takes place between EU countries?

meetlat-2-migratie_ENG L T HR L V RO BG PL P T SI GR SK FR I T HU FI CZ EU ES EE DK UK BE IE NL A T DE C Y SE L U M T 2.7 4.7 N e t m i g r a t i o n r a t e , 2017

In 2017, there was positive net migration in 23 EU countries, including the Netherlands. This means more people arrived in the country than left. The net migration rate in the Netherlands was 81 thousand, which is nearly 5 immigrants for every thousand inhabitants. Six countries had a higher net migration rate, led by Malta. Five countries in Eastern Europe saw more departures than arrivals; a lot of these emigrants moved within the EU looking for work.

6 in 10 emigrants remain in the EU

Large shares of immigrants and emigrants move from one EU country to another. Of the more than 4 million immigrants across the EU, slightly over 40 percent are intra-EU migrants. Of the 3 million people emigrating from an EU country, 60 percent remain EU resident. Many of them are Eastern European emigrants.

The Netherlands has shares that are close to the EU average: 44 percent of immigrants are from another EU country, while 56 percent of emigrants remain in the EU.

43% of immigrants in the EU were intra-EU migrants in 2016
1.2 asylum seeker arrivals in the Netherlands per 1,000 inhabitants in 2018

Asylum seekers

Part of the immigrants entering the EU are asylum seekers. In 2018, the EU received 581 thousand such immigrants. The bulk was received by Germany: 162 thousand, followed by France (111 thousand), Greece (65 thousand), Spain (53 thousand) and Italy (49 thousand). The top ten of host countries is completed by the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Austria.

Taking population size into account, Cyprus had the highest influx last year at 8.8 asylum seekers per thousand inhabitants, followed by Greece with 6.1 per thousand. Malta and Luxembourg received comparatively many asylum seekers, too. In the Netherlands, there were 1.2 first asylum requests per thousand inhabitants, exceeding the European average of 1.1 per thousand. Most asylum arrivals in the Netherlands last year were from Syria, Iran and Eritrea.


Eurostat – Migration

Eurostat – Asylum applicants


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Explanation of symbols

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* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure
2018-2019 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2018/2019 Average for 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2018/’19 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., beginning in 2018 and ending in 2019
2016/’17-2018/’19 Crop year, financial year, etc., 2016/’17 to 2018/’19 inclusive

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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