Realism about Numerical Targets. Exploring immigration targets and quotas in Dutch policy

The Advisory Council on Migration presents the English version of the advisory report on the use of numerical targets in migration policy. The full report in English is available here.

The original Dutch version of the report (Realisme rond richtgetallen – kansen en risico’s van streefcijfers en quota in het migratiebeleid) was published in December 2022 and is available here. The report was made at the request of the Dutch Minister for Migration. For more information on the Council, see below.

Main message of the report

The use of numerical targets in the area of migration can contribute to a more forward-looking, coherent and socially embedded migration policy.

To ensure this, however, the numerical targets must be derived from a broader view of migration in society and applied realistically. It is also essential that the national government has sufficient policy space to actually implement the numerical targets. Otherwise, the government is simply setting itself up for failure.

Due to external factors, such as war in another country, the national government has limited control over asylum migration, unlike labour migration. If the government wants to commit to the use of numerical targets, the Canadian model – with its emphasis on citizen consultation – could provide some guidance in this area.