During the 19th century, thousands of Luxembourgers emigrated, chiefly to the US. In 1870, however, rich deposits of iron ore were uncovered in southern Luxembourg, and during the period of industrialization and prosperity that followed, many persons from neighboring countries migrated to Luxembourg.
Since the adoption of national asylum legislation in April 1996, there has been a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers. In 1997, 431 people applied for asylum. By 1998, 1,709 people applied. Between January and July 1999, as many as 2,404 people submitted asylum applications. The great majority are from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
As of 12 August 1999, 101 people had been evacuated from Macedonia to Luxembourg. Evacuees were given a six-month renewable residence permit, as well as work permits, social assistance, and the right to family reunification. As of 1999, none of the evacuees had returned. Also as of 1999, Luxembourg officials were in the process of adopting a law on temporary protection. The net migration rate in 1999 was 7.78 migrants per 1,000 population.