The Netherlands and the flow of refugees

​When it is unsafe somewhere in the world, we frequently notice this at the IND.

The Netherlands and the flow of refugeesWhen fleeing from violence, people also seek protection in the Netherlands. In 2015, when the war in Syria dominated the news and our work on a daily basis, it led to a record number of nearly sixty thousand asylum applications being submitted. This proved to be an enormous challenge for the Netherlands: not only did all these people need shelter, also their asylum procedures had to be handled with due care. For the IND, this meant we had to pull out all the stops, as, even when faced with a high influx of asylum seekers, every applicant should get the attention he deserves.


Support and flow

 Migration is constantly in motion. This means that while one year hardly any asylum seekers turn to our country, a year later this could be completely different. What always remains, is our objective to offer each applicant a careful procedure. Even when there are nearly sixty thousand of them per year, as was the case in 2015. For this reason, the IND extended its working hours during that period by also working the weekends, extra staff was being recruited and we met with other organisations to find solutions. We also adjusted our procedures, enabling those persons who did not need our protection, to quickly gain clarity and enabling us to focus again on those persons who did need our protection. Together, we sought for support in society, while at the same time we tried to reduce the waiting times as much as possible.

Read more on how we dealt with the high influx of asylum seekers.

Read more about the stricter asylum procedure.

Dutch assistance in Europe

Not only was the Netherlands faced with an enormous challenge in 2015, also other European countries were being confronted with an influx of asylum seekers that was barely manageable. On a daily basis, little rickety boats crossed to Europe, causing many on board to lose their lives at sea as a result. Also at the Macedonian border did a humanitarian emergency nearly generate when the border with Greece was closed. As a joint problem calls for joint action, the IND supplies staff and expertise to other Member States. We have documentation experts from the IND inspecting documents in Greece, we help Greece and Italy with the implementation of their asylum procedure and we work in Turkey, Greece and Italy to help resettle Syrian refugees in the Netherlands.

Read more on how a special team is preparing refugees in Turkey for their arrival in the Netherlands.

Dutch documentation experts assist in a refugee camp on Lesbos. One of them kept a diary for one week.

Offenders and victims

During wartime, there can be a fine line between offender and victim. To keep our asylum procedure transparent, we structurally investigate war crimes in conflict areas and maintain a close eye on who enters our country. We work together in this with the police and intelligence services. After all, asylum is for victims, not offenders.

The IND has a team of specialists trained to recognise and combat war criminals. Read more about their activities.

Read more about the European approach to war criminals.