Rejected Afghan asylum seekers in the Netherlands: Migration experiences, current situations and future aspirations

Katherine Kuschminder & Melissa Siegel


Afghans have been a central asylum seeking group in Europe, and specifically the Netherlands since the conflict in Afghanistan escalated in the 1990s. Many of the Afghan asylum seekers in the Netherlands since 2001 receive a negative decision on their asylum request, however, do not leave the Netherlands and continue to live irregularly. This paper provides a descriptive exploration of the experiences of Afghan migrants with regard to their journeys to the Netherlands and while living irregularly in the Netherlands. The paper is based on 47 interviews conducted with Afghans living irregularly in the Netherlands and 11 key stakeholder interviews, which were conducted from 2013-2014. The findings discuss the complexity of Afghan migration movements including root causes and transit experiences, the factors influencing the destination choice of the Netherlands, reception experiences and future aspirations.

Key Words: Irregular migration, Afghanistan, The Netherlands

JEL Classification: F22, J13, J15

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