More asylum seekers from Yemen

Last update: 3 March 2023

The number of asylum seekers from Yemen increased sharply in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, 7% of the total number of first asylum applications were submitted by asylum seekers of this nationality. In 2020 this was still 3%. An analysis by the IND  (only in Dutch) shows that last year almost half of the Yemenites who fled to Europe chose the Netherlands as their destination. This means that our country is a frequently chosen destination in the EU for Yemenites who apply for asylum.

Safety situation is bad 

A bloody civil war has been raging in Yemen since 2015. Many people are fleeing from the violence. It is not possible for them to receive protection from the authorities or international organisations in their own country. According to current country policy for Yemen it is dangerous for asylum seekers to return. Muhamasheen, Christians, Jews, Baha’i and LGBTI asylum seekers run an extra risk.

Good chance of obtaining a residence permit

Because of the unsafe situation in Yemen asylum seekers who come from there stand a good chance of obtaining a residence permit in the Netherlands. Of the asylum applications from Yemen, 93% receive a positive decision. This is in keeping with a broader trend of a rising number of asylum seekers who are eligible for protection under the applicable asylum law. For Yemenites the rise is even higher than in other European countries, but the figures are poorly comparable. The way in which the Dutch asylum system is organised is different from other European countries. For example, the IND first takes an intended decision, on which the asylum seeker can give his or her opinion. Many other countries do not offer this opportunity. This and other differences make it difficult to compare the number of positive decisions by the IND to immigration services in other countries. So it cannot automatically be said that more asylum applications are granted in the Netherlands than in other countries. At present the Ministry of Justice and Security is examining which factors play a part in the differences between percentages of asylum applications granted in Europe.  

Choice of the Netherlands 

Asylum seekers often travel to a country where there is already a community of the same nationality. Large groups of Yemenites have already lived for a longer time in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. From 2018 a clear increase can be seen in the Yemenite community in the Netherlands. There are signs that Yemenites under way to the Netherlands have a remarkable knowledge of Dutch laws and regulations, for example thanks to available instruction videos circulating on internet. This may indicate a certain extent of organisation of the journey to the Netherlands. It is also true that Dutch asylum policy and subordinate legislation, including working instructions for the IND, have already been public for some time.

Highly educated men

On average, the Yemenites are 27 years old when they arrive in the Netherlands. Eighty three per cent (83%) of them are men. The share of highly educated men has increased through the years. Before they arrived in the Netherlands, many Yemenites stayed in a third country such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Egypt. They were usually there for work or studies, but travelled on because of a stricter third country national policy or anti-refugee sentiment. Yemenites appear to be well informed of ways in which they can travel to the Netherlands. In the past there was abuse of other migration schemes by Yemenites, such as the job-seeking year for highly educated persons. This abuse was detected and has meanwhile been contained. About a third of the Yemenite asylum permit holders submitted applications for journeys of family members in connection with family reunification.