Jihadism and the immigration process

Criminology and victimology / Terrorist group

Jihadism and the immigration process

A closer look at the identification of possible jihadists among asylum seekers and jihadist activities in an around reception centres (full text only available in Dutch)


Since the end of 2014, a broad political debate has emerged within Europe about the increase in the number of migrants and jihadism-related risks. Whereas initially, national security agencies and other experts in Europe expressed themselves cautiously about the risk that jihadists would be among migrants entering Europe, the tone changed after the attacks in Paris in November 2015. Currently, at least three "risks" are circulating: 1) the risk of jihadists traveling with "migratory flows" into Europe (and applying for asylum); 2) the risk of forced recruitment by jihadi among asylum seekers and 3) the risk that applicants simply radicalise during their stay at reception centres. As a result of the abovementioned political debate the Dutch government required further insight into the identification of jihadism in the immigration process. This resulted in the following research question:

What is the current set up regarding identification and exchange of information regarding jihadism in the Dutch immigration process, how does this work in practice and are there any possible improvements to be made? If so, which?

The research focuses specifically on foreign nationals requesting asylum. In order to answer the abovementioned question, different research methods have been combined. On the basis of an analysis of public sources such as media reports and policy documents and a query through the European Migration Network (EMN), the national and international contexts have been described. In order to map the structural set up regarding identification and exchange of information, the researchers have analysed policy documents and interviewed policy officers and senior staff within relevant organisations. In order to be able to mirror the existing set up to existing (academic) insights about identification and information exchange, literature has been reviewed. In order to get an idea of actual practice, both executive staff and frontline professionals have been interviewed. In total, 49 respondents have been interviewed.



Publication data

Wijk, J. van, Bolhuis, M.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law, WODC
Place of publication:
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law
Year of publication:

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Rechtsgeleerdheid, VU Amsterdam
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