New deadline for family reunification with children is unfounded

A controversial demand on integration potential is abolished, but instead a new time limit of 3 months is introduced which may target many more

The Danish Parliament passed a new law per January 1. regarding parents who apply to bring their children to Denmark. In general, the change is considered a facilitation and an abolision of an unfair rule, affecting the Thai girl Mint and approximately 80 other children in similar situations, who can now have their cases reopened. Claiming that Mint and the other children could not be integrated in Denmark was indeed absurd, as many of them already spoke Danish fluently and had adjusted well during the period of application and complaints. It was about time that the demand of integration targeting children between 8 and 15 years was abolished. All children can be integrated, also the ones above 15 years who still fall under more restrictive rules.

However, the bill included a tightening as well, which can prove to have far more serious consequences, depending on how it will be used in practice. There will now be a time limit of 3 months to send in an application, counting from the day when the parent living in Denmark gets a residence permit or the from the day the child is born.

The time limit could split up many children and parents and create miserable situations. Unfortunately, we see no assurances against refugee families being affected by the short time limit. The law holds dispensation options, but experience shows that Immigration Service administers options like these in a very restrictive way.

There are no rational arguments for the deadline. Parents normally wish to be with their children, and if they don't apply immediately, there are usually good reasons for it. The government has some prejudiced and undocumented ideas of parents who keep their children in Quran schools for years in their homeland. What we see in Refugees Welcome are families who struggle with practical problems getting documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates and ID papers. Some might have real doubts about where it's best for the child to live. But if you choose to let the child stay in the home country, it's usually because of personal relations and not because you don't want your child to grow up in Denmark – on the contrary. So why not leave that decision to the parents?

Many refugees will not get the information about the deadline before it's too late. That information will drown in the sea of new information, and the newly arrived do not understand Danish yet. The application forms are long and hard to fill out – and they only exist in Danish and English.

Read more on Immigration Service's own webpage:
News article from 19.12.2019
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