New administration agency for returning rejected asylum seekers

250 employees will handle 1,100 rejected, under command of a controversial leader

From August 1st all tasks with rejected asylum seekers will be moved to a brand-new administration agency under Danish Ministry of Integration. This is a consequence of a government decision from September last year, taking away the efforts to make rejected asylum seekers go home voluntarily from the police.

Duty of reporting, interviews about collaboration, preparation of travel documents, presentations at embassies, motivational measures (among these detention) etc. will be handled by the new agency. In the future, the police will only be in charge of cases where the person refuses to leave, and a forced deportation is therefore decided.

Counselling regarding voluntary return or repatriation is still in the hands of Danish Refugee Council.

Refugees Welcome is in favour of moving the tasks away from the police, which was not suitable for the job. We hope that is will also mean a shift from negative incitements (force, threats, detention, daily duty to report in the deportation camps) to increased use of positive incitements (meetings, offers, agreements, economical and practical support in the home country) and maybe a better understanding of the countries in question and the situation of the rejected person, which is often complicated.

Experience shows that negative incitements have almost no effects – the number of rejected is almost constant around 1,000, and of these more than 200 have been rejected for more than 5 years, a few over 20 years. At least 47% of the rejected in 2019 came from countries where it is not possible to return people by force (Iran and Iraq). More than half of the ones who were supposed to stay in deportation centre Kærshovedgård have disappeared – which most often means that they are living under ground or have asked for asylum in another European country.

The head office of the new Return Agency will be placed in Udlændingecenter Nordsjælland’s rooms in Birkerød, and the agency will consist of around 250 employees.

National ID Center and the secretariats for the Immigration Board and Refugee Appeals Board are transferred organizationally from the Ministry of Integration to the new agency. Tasks and physical placement of these offices stay unchanged.

Claes Nilas, who comes from a job as vice president for the Agency of International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), will be interim president of the Return Agency. The positions as president and vice president for the agency will be turned up soon.

Nilas is known in public for his involvement in two scandals regarding refugees and foreigners: the Tamil case and the Stateless case. During the Tamil case he was minister secretary for the former Minister of Justice Erik Ninn-Hansen, who was impeached for his role in the case. During the Stateless case he was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Integration and had a central role as counsellor for the minister Birthe Rønn-Hornbech who was forced to take her leave as a consequence of the case. The commission which was appointed for the case criticised Claes Nilas sharply in August 2015, and he was dismissed subsequently.

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