Where do successful asylum seekers go on vacation?

A friend of a friend is an immigration official in the Netherlands. As measured by departures and re-entries at Schiphol, where do successful asylum-seekers go on vacation? The answer turns out to be that they go, with spouse and children, back to the country in which they were supposedly at risk of violence, imprisonment, and harassment from the government.

[Note that this is not very different from what happened with the Tsarnaev family. They received asylum in the U.S. based on their fear of “deadly persecution” in Russia. But then both parents voluntarily returned to their original home in the Russian province of Dagestan (CNN), leaving four children to be supported by U.S. taxpayers.]


  1. EvilKiru

    January 8, 2016 @ 2:11 pm


    Are you attempting to imply that, based on this being true for some unspecified sampling of asylum seekers, all asylum seekers go back to their home country for vacation? Or are you using successful only in the limited sense of those who have gamed the system and are (or have become) rich enough to do pretty much whatever they want?

  2. Jonathan Graehl

    January 8, 2016 @ 4:34 pm


    I thought “departures and re-entries at [intl airport]” intersect “successful asylum-seekers” was pretty clear about the population. Agree that it would be nice to know many successful asylum seekers *don’t* travel [through Schiphol or otherwise].

  3. Tamil Ealam

    January 9, 2016 @ 11:38 pm


    Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Canada were known for doing this also. Although I believe they actually were in danger at the time they first arrived, eventually things had settled down and they could go back to visit.

  4. Tom

    January 13, 2016 @ 7:34 am


    I’ve heard of dozens of cases like that, from Ghana to all the putative hell holes in the Middle East.

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