Last year, more Afghans than last year applied for asylum in our country. Only in 2015, the year of the so-called refugee crisis, were there more. Last year, the Taliban recaptured the entire country, and since then well-educated Afghans have also sought protection.In addition, Syrians, Palestinians and Eritreans continue to seek asylum. They are all nationalities with a high need for protection. More than half of our asylum seekers are also recognized as refugees.
Just a year ago, the Taliban also took control of the last part of Afghanistan. Relief efforts were rushed from the airport in the capital Kabul. The United States and European countries tried to force as many of their citizens out of the country as possible, which also forced out Afghans who worked for foreigners and human rights activists.
In recent months, many Afghans have continued to travel to Europe on their own. From the fall of 2021 to the first half of this year, there were significantly more arrivals than usual. Only in the so-called refugee crisis years were there more.
“The groups that arrive are somewhat different,” said Dirk van den Burg, the Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons. ‘Well-educated Afghans fled the country’
Many of them have remained in their home countries for years without fulfilling their promises. “Last year he was often at greater risk from targeted attacks, even before August,” explains Van Den Bulk. But even after that, they can still operate in some areas, hoping for better human rights and women’s rights.
However, since March of this year, hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers have been rejected in our country. So they can’t stay. “Afghanistan has a certain stability under the Taliban, no more random war violence,” explains van den Burg. “Only those who can demonstrate that they have been targeted by the regime and are at risk of persecution or torture are eligible for protection.” There are many, but not all.
Diversity of other nationalities
After Afghans, the main asylum seekers are Syrians, Palestinians and Eritreans. And these are all nationalities with a high need for protection.
“But it is actually surprising that asylum seekers come from very different countries these days,” adds Van Den Bulk. Recognition of refugee status…”
Up and down, up and down…
The number of new asylum seekers fluctuates greatly over time. 1999-2000 saw a peak in asylum seekers from the Balkans. In the years that followed, the numbers declined, then increased, then decreased.
2015 peaked at 39,064 asylum applications, mostly from Syrian refugees, Iraqis and Afghans. In the years that followed, those numbers halved again.
In 2019, the year before the corona crisis, that number rose again, with 23,379 asylum seekers arriving. There will be more new asylum seekers in the first half of this year than in the first half of 2019. So that number will probably be higher this year as well.
And technically speaking, there are already more asylum seekers this year than ever before. Ukrainian refugees are not included here, so they do not need to go through any formalities and should immediately receive a one-year temporary approval. About 52,500 Ukrainian refugees have found refuge in our country since the Russian invasion at the end of February.