17th of march 2010 received from Bashy Quraishy <bashy@ mail.dk>
Latest Danish adjustments of Alien’s laws – 20 restrictions and only one benefit
On 15th March 2010, Danish government once again succumbed to the pressure from anti-Islam Danish Peoples Party (DPP) and made adjustments in the present Alien’s Laws. It must be recalled that since 2001 this party has succeeded in getting its will to tighten laws concerning asylum, family reunion, student visas and social benefits for non-European residents in Denmark. Every year when the budget negotiations are being handled, DPP uses its political leverage to press the government – overtly and covertly – to get its way. In the last 5 years, it has proposed restrictions and the government agreed for more than 24 times, making Danish Alien’s Laws as the most restrictive and unfriendly in EU.
(Danmarks Radio.16.03.2010. kl.09.00) http://www.dr.dk/radio/?t
The newest agreement has been described by the government as beneficial and a carrot for immigrants who are willing to integrate, meaning that they have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence after four years compared to seven years which is the law now.http://www.nyidanmark.dk/da-dk/Nyheder/Pressemeddelelser/Integrationsministeriet/2010/Marts/aftale_om_serviceeftersyn_af_udlaendinge_og_integrationsloven_paa_plads.htm
But this relief is the only visible benefit among a catalogue of 21 new rules spread over 14 pages long document.
Government and the Danish People's Party has agreed that the residents must collect 100 points to get permanent residency. This is the first tightening. Without a permanent residence permit, one cannot seek to become a Danish citizen, apply for family reunification, and altogether there are some things one does not have the same right as other citizens.
Under the new immigration agreement, first 70 of a total 100 points are allocated to acquire particular knowledge of the Danish language, two and a half years of employment and that the alien has not committed a crime "of a certain gravity."
The last 30 points, require that the alien demonstrates additional Danish skills, education, employment and "active citizenship" - for example, voluntary work, long-term membership of a school board and passing of a special citizenship test.
According to media reports, many Danish researchers are very skeptical of the new points system. Martin Bak Jørgensen, assistant professor at Aalborg University believes that points system will mean that the process of seeking permanent residence actually is pushed further into the future than it is today, where people have seven years. Many simply will not be able to collect 100 points in the first 4 years. Many might qualify for the first 70 points but it's very difficult to imagine who is able to assemble the final 30 points in the first four years in Denmark. He asserts that even for those foreigners who have come here to work - people with high education - it will be difficult. “This could have major consequences for those who simply are unable to collect the 100 points”.
Ulf Hedetoft, Professor and Head of Saxo Institute at Copenhagen University and a prominent academic in integration research also assesses that there are very carrots in this new agreement. He thinks that very few immigrants would actually be able to meet the demands being made. “The new strict demands are tremendously increased compared to the present ones. It will become a lot harder for most to obtain permanent residence”
However, Kræn Blume Jensen, senior researcher at the Institute of Governmental Research (AKF) thinks that the new rule may be conducive to the integration of migrants in the labor market for some. He deals with immigrants and labor market.
“For an individual immigrant, it must be a good thing and especially for the more resourceful ones. This rule gives them more opportunity to influence the process and work hard towards the carrot target, as it means a faster permanent residence. http://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/artikel/359797:Danmark--Udlaendingeaftale-kun-til-gavn-for-faa?all=1
If you have fled to Denmark from war or famine, and are too traumatized to learn Danish and get a job in record time, then path to forced deportations from the airport would now be shorter. The points system to determine whether residents can obtain residence permits, takes no account of the torture victims and other traumatized refugees, warns Coordinator Tue Magnussen of Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims.
“Many torture victims have trouble just with language learning and often can not work the same extent as other foreigners. When you also will make it harder for those who receive or have received social benefits, we fear that many more victims of torture will be affected by the new tighter rules”.
Socilaist Peoples Party backs the criticism, but is positive about the idea of appoints system, while the Unity Party and the Radikal Party takes distance from tightening like;
- Foreigners will now have to wait four years to vote for municipalities and regions to three years today.
- Refugees can in the first 10 years have their permits revoked if they travel home
- It becomes easier to deport foreigners who are homeless.
One of the most senior Danish politician, Marrianne Jelved expressed her distaste for the new agreement in these words;
“I wonder what is really happening in Denmark at the moment. The whole idea of our welfare mindset has been to reach out to those who fall through a safety net. It is apparently no longer the case. Now the focus is exclusively on those who can manage well on their own. The remaining those who want but can not, must never have a chance.”
Seen from ethnic minority perspective, this new agreement is a continuation of the last 10 years restrictive policies to close borders for non-European people who might seek asylum or wish to be reunited with their families living in the country for decades.
March, 17th 2010
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