Recent tightenings and bills

The government has carried through 71 restrictions for refugees and foreigners, and more are on the way. We present a short summary of the latest ones.

Refugees Welcome has presented the government to our comments on most of these bills, and they can be found on this page – only in Danish, however.

Adopted bills:

• Principle of earning the right to certain benefits:
- Right to disability pension only after 3 years stay and calculated on how long you have stayed in Denmark.
- Full child benefits only gradually obtained over 6 years.
- Time of stay in the home country is no longer included, so that it takes 40 years of stay in Denmark before earning full rights to age pension and elderly benefit.

• Economic guarantee for spouse reunification raised from 5 to 10 years (but refugees are still excempted).

• Increased control of travel documents: Foreigners passports and convention passports can be blocked or denied extension, if the applicant has lost more than 3 passports in 5 years.

• Permanent residence permit can be denied, if the applicant has deliberately opposed the determination of her/his identity (only covering applications for asylum handed in after 1/1-18).

• The number of resettlement refugees (UN quota) will be determined every year by the minister, minimum 0 and maximum 500.

• Danish Immigration Service has been granted 40 mio DKR extra for increased control.
The majority of the amount is given to control whether refugees in Denmark are going on vacation in their home countries. 800 are taken for inspection, focusing on Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. One of the tools is surveillance of social media.

- Random control of identity/nationality among the Syrians who were granted asylum under a very fast procedure in 2015-16.
- Control interviews at the Danish embassies with applicants for family reunification.
- Extension cases investigated for possible withdrawal.
- Control of passports issued to foreigners in Denmark (see above, new law).

At the same time, Immigration Service uses many resources compared to earlier on extensions, as all residence permits are now only given for maximum 2 years, and 1,600 Somali cases has recently been re-investigated (see Status on the Somali cases). The new requirements for spouse reunification will also lead to an extensive control of documentation from abroad regarding education and work.

Drafted bills:

• Own payment for translation service after 3 years stay in Denmark. 
Exeptions can be made for sick, elderly and traumatised refugees.

• Tightened rules for expulsion of criminal foreigners. Will only target refugees indirectly, but will lead to more refugees on Tolerated Stay.

• Reduction of integration benefit by 3 % + monthly language bonus replaced with one-time bonus, introduced from July 1 2018.

• Extension of the time limit regarding integration benefit, so that the present 7 years of stay will be extended to 9 years in order to earn the right to normal welfare benefit, and in addition a new employment demand for 2,5 years of fulltime job during the last 10 years.

• Continuation of §7 (3) status including the 3 years waiting time for family reunification. The law was temporary, but the government is happy with it and has support from DF, LA and S, and besides it has been approved by the Danish Supreme Court. Around 28% of the refugees are given this status, until now around 4,000 people in total.

• Easier access to residence permit on grounds of work abolished, if a residence permit given for asylum or family reunification is revoked or not extended. In the future, the same criteria must be fulfilled to obtain a work permit as for people who never held a residence permit before.

• New requirements for spouse reunification
(already agreed upon with S and DF, sent in consultation, according to plan it will be in effect from July 1. and covering applications handed in after this date). Present requirements must still be met, but will be tightened and altered in the following ways:

- Refugees are excempted from most of the requirements, but at the same time it has been agreed to examine whether the requirements for refugees can be tightened, for instance more refugees might be referred to live their family life in a third country.

- New integration requirement, where the couple must live up to 4 out of 6 criteria concerning Danish/English language, education exceeding basic school and fulltime employment. A mandatory requirement will be for the person living in Denmark to have passed the Danish DU 3 exam. See the precise requirements below.

- The present attachment requirement will be replaced by a visiting requirement, demanding at least one legal visit to Denmark.

- Existing requirements for permanent stay must be met (also for people who have obtained the right to permanent stay during earlier and less strict legislation).

- The requirement regarding accommodation is expanded. In the future, the person residing in Denmark must not be living in one of the areas on a new list made for this purpose: residential areas which fall under 2 out of 4 ofthe criteria on the government ‘ghetto list’. It means that this list will be much longer than the ghetto list, which at the moment includes 22 residential areas.

- Economic guarantee is raised from 50,000 DKR to 100,000 DKR, and at the same time it has already been agreed that the period where this money is locked goes up from 5 to 10 years.

- The applicant (coming to Denmark from abroad) is not only required to pass the A1 Danish test within 6 months, but also the A2 test within 9 months after arrival.

As a whole, these requirements favour in extreme degree people with high educations and high income. Illiterates and people with few years in school will be excluded in the future, both as a reference and as an applicant. Permanent residence permit is one of the conditions to get family reunification, and the requirements for this were tightened significantly in 2017. To illustrate how hard that has become, only 173 persons with a refugee background were able to meet the demands for permanent stay in 2017. When disregarding refugee countries, the top 3 countries for family reunification to Denmark are: Thailand, Philippines and Turkey.

The new integration requirements are:
Mandatory requirement:
• Language skills of the reference (the person living in Denmark): Passed Prøve i Dansk 3 or similar.

Besides, 3 out of following 5 requirements must also be met:
• Work experience of the reference: Ordinary fulltime employment or self-employment during at least 5 years in Denmark.

• Education of the reference: Minimum 6 years education, whereof at least one year after basic school, in Denmark. Education after basic school includes 1 year fulltime education on a qualifying education. 10th grade or ‘efterskole’ are not considered education after basic school.

• Language skills of the applicant (the person living outside Denmark): English skills on B1 level or passed Prøve I Dansk 1. English skills mist be documented in the form of a diploma from a recognized language school.

• Works skills of the applicant: Ordinary fulltime employment or self-employment during at least 3 out of the last 5 years.

• Education of the applicant: Passed exam for at least 1 year of education, at a level similar to a higher education or a vocational education in Denmark.