Migrants in the Netherlands: Poles and Indians in the lead


There are now 17.4 million people on this very small piece of earth. The Dutch population is growing and that is mainly due to migrants. Almost half of them are from Europe. Chinese and Indians also have a relatively large share. “The market directs the power”, experts say.

Not all data has yet been received, but Statistics Netherlands estimates that more than 272,000 people settled in the Netherlands in 2019. 158,000 people left the Netherlands, which means that the population grew by 114,000 as a result of migration.

On balance, the difference between the people who settle and those who leave, according to the CBS, more people from all parts of the world came to the Netherlands in 2019 than a year earlier. With a balance of 61,300, almost half of immigrants come from Europe. 28,900 immigrants come from Asia, accounting for 18 percent.
Top ten migrants

The number of Dutch people leaving versus those coming back has a negative balance: 39,000 Dutch people leave, while 34,000 return, CBS says.

If we look further into the background of immigrants who come to the Netherlands, we will see the next top 10, the statistical office found out at the request of RTL Z. The CBS has data for the period January to November 2019.

  1. Poland 9080
  2. India 6322
  3. Romania 4748
  4. Syria 4485
  5. Bulgaria 4198
  6. Turkey 3798
  7. United Kingdom 3457
  8. Aruba 3196
  9. Italy 2849
  10. China 2848

The number of immigrants from Poland has been high for a number of years, Dick ter Steege of the CBS knows. “A larger increase can be seen from 2004,” he says. This is related to the country’s accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004, which means that Poland can move and settle freely within the EU ever since. The same applies to Romanians and Bulgarians.

Why do immigrants choose the Netherlands? Statistics Netherlands has not conducted extensive research into this. The available data show that ‘family migration’ is an important motivation. Work, study and asylum are other reasons. But for a large part the reason for coming is unknown.

“People often think that asylum seekers mainly come to the Netherlands, but that is not so bad,” says demographer and professor Jan Latten of the University of Amsterdam. Their number is estimated to be 16,000 in 2019, almost 6 percent of the total. Due to the civil war, relatively many people from Syria have come to the Netherlands in recent years.
The market controls

According to the professor, migration flows are largely driven by the market.

“The Netherlands is aging, there is a shortage on the labor market, companies are increasingly turning to foreign countries because of the need for staff,” he says.

People who are not or difficult to find here. “Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians often come here for unskilled work,” says Latten. In agriculture and horticulture. In the factories and slaughterhouses. “There are even special employment agencies for this. And if someone stays, then wife and child often follow. That drives up the numbers.”

Poland is doing well economically, Latten knows. Yet the Netherlands is more attractive for a certain group. “People from the poorer regions can live on a Polish salary. They can save on a Dutch salary, even if they are also low.” As EU citizens, they are therefore free to work in the Netherlands.

By: Abaigael Schlomski

Abaigael Schlomski is an accomplished economist and financial journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. He is a regular contributor to EconomicInform, where he provides in-depth analysis and expert commentary on the latest economic trends and events. With a keen understanding of the financial markets and a talent for breaking down complex economic concepts for a general audience, Maurice is a trusted and respected voice in the field.

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