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Netherlands : Moroccan asylum-seeking applications drop according to an official report

The number of Moroccans applying for asylum in the Netherlands has dropped dramatically during the first semester of the current year. The information has been released by several Dutch media platforms. To investigate the drop, a monthly report issued by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice was handed over to Yabiladi by the Dutch Embassy in Morocco to have an overview about asylum-seeking trends in the country. 

The Ter Apel refugee center in the Netherlands./Ph. Flickr
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According to several Dutch media platforms, the number of Moroccans who have claimed asylum in the Netherlands during the first half of 2017 has decreased dramatically compared to the second part of the previous year. In an article published on July the 26th by DutchNews.nl, citizens from Morocco, Algeria and Albania, which are considered as safe have not been applying as refugee status in 2017 as much as they did in 2016. 

As surprising as it may sound, only 485 Moroccans applied for asylum during the period between January and July 2017 while 1,200 of their countrymen did during the last six months of 2016. Quoting the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Services, the same source points out that the drop also included Algeria and Abania indicating that «the number of requests from Algerians fell from 900 to 440 and the number from Albania went down from 600 to 220». 

Official numbers

To get an overview about asylum trends in the Netherlands and be provided with the exact numbers regarding the Moroccan nationals who requested refugee in the Dutch kingdom, Yabiladi contacted the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Morocco. In a monthly report issued by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice and sent to Yabiladi by its embassy in Rabat, it was stated that in 2016, 1,283 Moroccans had applied for asylum as compared to 99 in 2015. According to the official document, 498 individuals requested refugee status in the first six months of the current year and 1,233 did the same in the last six months of 2016. 

Indeed, the numbers have decreased compared to 2016 when 1,271 Moroccans asked for asylum in the Netherlands. The same report points out that in July 2017, the ministry registered 54 asylum applicants. When it comes to the influx of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers, the ministry registered 9 in 2015, 68 in 2016, and 25 in the first semester of 2017. 

It is clearly noticeable that Moroccans have asked for asylum the most in the year of 2016 as compared to 2015 and the first half of 2017. For DutchNews this could be an effect of the policy conducted by the European country. vThe claims from people who were nationals of safe countries were placing an unfair burden on the Dutch asylum system», stated Klaas Djkhof, the Dutch junior Justice Minister. He also said in a statement issued last year that refugees from safe countries like Morocco, Algeria and Albenia «were causing too many problems in the refugee centers and communities they were assigned to». 

According to the same source, the Ministry as a result has stopped «the payments made to failed asylum seekers to help them resettle back home to claimants from» the three abovementioned countries. The numbers released recently regarding asylum applications are perceived as an improvement from the host country unlike the previous periods.

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