• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Smugglers help refugees compare welfare benefits

The Local · 23 Jul 2015, 19:39

Published: 23 Jul 2015 15:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Jul 2015 19:39 GMT+02:00

Human smugglers have a document that helps asylum seekers compare the different levels of welfare benefits they can receive in various European countries, according to a report in Jyllands-Posten on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, Danish Integration Minister Inger Støjberg was informed of the welfare comparison document when she met with officials from the EU border agency Frontex in Warsaw last week. The document compares monthly waiting times for family reunification as well as the monetary amount of monthly benefits that are available to refugees in countries including Denmark, Germany and Sweden. 

Støjberg said that the document justifies the Danish government's decision to cut benefits for refugees in an effort to deter asylum seekers from coming to Denmark. 
 
 
“Of course living conditions – including finances – mean something for which country asylum seekers will seek out. Why else would human smugglers have prepared and published this systematic breakdown of countries including Denmark on a website where they provide services based on this kind of information,” Støjberg wrote in a Facebook post that included a screenshot of the comparison document.
 

Selvfølgelig betyder opholdsvilkår - og herunder økonomi - noget, for hvilke lande asylansøgere søger til. Hvorfor...

Posted by Inger Støjberg on Thursday, July 23, 2015
The document compares conditions in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, telling asylum seekers how much money they can expect, the type of accommodation they will find and how long it will take to obtain residency. 
 
A spokesperson for Frontex said that the organization is not certain if the welfare comparison document in question is still in circulation but said that some groups of asylum seekers seem to have a lot of information about the conditions in individual European countries. 
 
“We know that human smugglers gather this information and pass it on as part of a package to their potential customers,” Ewa Moncure told Jyllands-Posten.
 
The Local has reached out to Frontex for comment. 
 
News of the welfare comparison document was seen by Denmark’s centre-right parties as proof that the nation’s generous welfare system functions as a magnet for potential refugees. 
 
“This confirms one’s suspicions that there are human strugglers who have their eyes on the conditions in those countries in which they help asylum seekers reach,” the Danish People’s Party spokesman Peter Skaarup told Jyllands-Posten. 
 
Skaarup, whose party last week proposed releasing a video meant to scare refugees away from Denmark, said that criticism of the government’s cuts to welfare benefits for refugees now “ring hollow” in light of the document’s surfacing. 
 
 
Others however continued to insist that the influx of refugees into Denmark has little to do with the national welfare system and everything to do with the fact that there are currently more refugees in the world than at any other time since World War II.
 
“There isn’t a single expert who can document that there is a connection between the number of refugees a country receives and the benefits it offers. The influx into Denmark mirrors the international stream of refugees,” Social Liberals (Radikale) spokesman Andreas Steenberg told Jyllands-Posten. 
 
Denmark saw its asylum numbers nearly double in 2014, with 14,815 people arriving in the course of the year compared to 7,557 asylum seekers in 2013. A report from the Danish Immigration Service last month showed that 2015 is on pace to be yet another record year
 
Per capita, Denmark took in the sixth highest number of asylum applications in 2014. But due to its opt-out on EU Justice and Home Affairs, it is not participating in the European plan to redistribute refugees even though it could end up with Denmark taking in fewer numbers than it does now. 
 
Story continues below…
 
Shortly after the new Venstre government took power, it announced that the unemployment welfare benefits that asylum seekers were entitled to under the previous government will be replaced by a new – and significantly lower – so-called ‘integration benefit’. A single adult with no children will receive 5,945 kroner per month before tax, compared to the current 10,849 kroner unemployment benefit – a 45 percent cut. 
 
Støjberg said again on Thursday that additional restrictions are on their way
 
“Something is coming on general living conditions and something is coming on family reunification,” she told Jyllands-Posten. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
File photo of volunteers awaiting arriving migrants at Copenhagen Central Station. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix

UPDATED: A total of 79,600 kroner was seized from five Iranian nationals.

Roskilde Festival 2016
The Local's not-quite-live Roskilde 2016 blog
Young love, summer and Roskilde – could it be more beautiful? Photo: Bobby Anwar

We're posting updates all week as a field in Roskilde is temporarily turned in to the fourth largest city in Denmark.

Opinion
Stop trashing your city, Copenhagen residents!
This is not a garbage can! Photo: Louis Volpe

Denmark and its capital have a lot to be proud of, but the way residents treat the entire city like a rubbish bin is not one of them, writes American expat Louis Volpe.

Danish bankers eye Brexit cash-in
File photo: Vladimir Wrangel/Iris/Scanpix

Experts in the Danish finance industry have called for changes to tax laws so that Denmark can take advantage of a potential banking exodus from London following last week's Brexit vote.

Dejlige Days Welcome
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Learning Danish will open up personal and professional opportunities. Photo: william87/Iris/Scanpix

Relocation expert Melanie Haynes offers up her eight top reasons for why you should at least make an effort to learn the local language.

Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
Some 200,000 Danes living abroad could be impacted by the new rule. Photo: Iris

Danes and their foreign spouses will now have a much harder time living in Denmark.

Danish students and caps: What’s all the noise about?
Thousands of young students have taken to the streets of Denmark wearing their caps. Photo: Knud Erik Christensen/Colourbox

During the month of June, Danish towns are overtaken by jubilant young adults wearing assorted styles of graduation caps (studenterhuer). The Local brings you a guide to what the caps mean, their history and significance to the class of 2016.

Photo gallery
Devil horns up! A photo journey through Copenhell
Copenhell was completely sold out for the first time ever. Photo: Philip B. Hansen

The Local joined the headbanging masses at this year's Copenhell heavy metal festival to bring you this devilish photo report.

Roskilde Festival 2016
From Russia with love: Snowden addresses Roskilde
Snowden's broadcast address was watched by a large and enthusiastic crowd. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

Broadcast live from Moscow, whistleblower Edward Snowden was greeted like a rock star by the festival crowd.

Cage eggs soon to be a thing of the past in Denmark
Cage eggs are laid by hens that never see the light of day. Photo: Vi Ælsker Æg

Denmark’s largest retail company will stop selling eggs laid by cage chickens.

Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
2,269
jobs available