• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Govt gets backing for bill on taking migrants' cash
A refugee at the asylum centre in Thyborøn. Photo: Morten Stricker/Scanpix

Govt gets backing for bill on taking migrants' cash

Sören Billing/AFP · 13 Jan 2016, 08:35

Published: 12 Jan 2016 20:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2016 08:35 GMT+01:00

Parliament will on Wednesday begin a series of debates on the bill, ahead of a vote on January 26.
 
Faced with a storm of criticism, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, whose right-wing Venstre party is behind the plan, called it "the most misunderstood bill in Denmark's history."
 
His minority government and its right-wing allies -- the far-right Danish People's Party (DF), the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party -- reached an agreement on the bill on Tuesday with the  opposition Social Democrats, meaning it is now supported by a majority of parties in parliament.
 
The amended bill would allow Danish authorities to seize migrants' cash exceeding 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros, $1,450), as well as any individual items valued at more than 10,000 kroner.
 
Wedding rings and other items of sentimental value would be exempt, the agreement said, also citing engagement rings, family portraits and badges of honour.
 
But items such as watches, mobile phones and computers worth more than 10,000 kroner may be seized, it said.
 
Copenhagen's government last week began backtracking on its proposal by raising the amount of cash a refugee can keep from the initially-suggested 3,000 kroner to 10,000 kroner.
 
The proposal is part of a bigger immigration bill to be debated by parliament on Wednesday.
 
Three small left-wing parties, the Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Socialist People's Party and The Alternative, remain opposed to the bill.
 
Storm of criticism
Integration Minister Inger Støjberg has faced a wave of criticism over the plans to search migrants' bags for gold and other valuables, prompting some commentators to draw parallels to Nazi Germany.
 
UN refugee agency UNHCR said on January 6 that the Danish government's bill sent a signal to other countries that "could fuel fear, xenophobia and similar restrictions that would reduce -- rather than expand -- the asylum space globally."
 
Other parts of the bill include delaying family reunifications for some refugees by up to three years, shortening temporary residence permits and making it harder to obtain permanent residency for all foreigners.
 
The government has defended the searches on the grounds that Danish nationals seeking welfare handouts can expect similar treatment.
 
"It is already the case that if you as a Dane have valuables for more than 10,000 kroner it may be required that this is sold before you can receive unemployment benefits," Støjberg said last month.
 
'Completely distorted'
The fact that Tuesday's amended bill no longer had any upper limit on the value of wedding rings and other items of sentimental value means refugees will be in some ways better off than regular Danes, she argued.
 
"It is true that with the change made now, you can in some instances see that asylum seekers are in a better position than people who have lived in Denmark their entire lives," she told Ritzau news agency.
 
Story continues below…
Prime Minister Rasmussen said the reactions were exaggerated.
 
"When you look at the debate you almost get the impression that when people come to the border they're going to be turned on their heads to see if their last coins can't be shaken from their pockets. It's completely distorted and wrong," he told media Tuesday.
 
And a spokesman for the far-right DF told AFP in December that the bill was intended as a "signal" to dissuade migrants from coming to Denmark, and not aimed at actually raising money.
 
The proposal is the latest in a string of moves by Denmark to reduce the number of refugees coming to the country.
 
Other measures have included shortening residence permits, delaying family reunifications and placing adverts in Lebanese newspapers.
 
Denmark received 21,000 refugees last year, compared to 163,000 in neighbouring Sweden, which until recently had some of Europe's most generous asylum rules.

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

Sören Billing/AFP (news.denmark@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Danish PM in 'embarrassing' Faroes flag blunder
The colours on the flag flown outside Copenhagen University were transposed. Photo: Twitter

“There are many in the Faroes who also see it as a lack of respect," a Faroese politician, told the Politiko news site .

'Topple Danish government to drive through Muslim ban'
Søren Krarup believes the time has come for the Danish People's Party to flex its muscles. Photo: Danish Parliament

Danish People Party's chief ideologue wants government toppled "without reflection".

Danish Pokémon corpse named as violent killer
Danish Pokémon Go players in Copenhagen. Photo: Emil Hougaard/Scanpix

The grim discovery made by a Danish Pokémon hunter just got darker.

Danish MP: Ban Muslim immigration to Denmark
Danish People's Party MP Søren Espersen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix

A high-ranking Danish People’s Party MP came under fire on Thursday for his proposal to ban all immigration from ‘Muslim countries’ for a period of 4-6 years.

Danish Pokémon hunter killed in traffic accident
Pokémon Go players in Copenhagen. The hugely popular app was recently made available to Danish Pokemon fans. Photo: Emil Hougaard/Scanpix

The 21-year-old delivery van driver was found dead on Thursday morning with the popular Pokémon Go app still running on his phone.

Danish villagers band together to catch berry booth bandits
'I didn't choose the berry-booth-bandit life, the berry-booth-bandit life chose me.' Photo: cyclonebill/Flickr

Residents of the Jutland town of Saltum hatched up a plan to catch a pair of thieves who had snuck into their local strawberry booth and stolen the cash left by other customers several nights in a row.

Danish opposition leader: Trump is a ‘populist know-it-all’
Things might get a little awkward if both Frederiksen and Trump end up becoming heads of state in their respective countries. Photo: Jim Watson/Scanpix

The leader of Denmark’s largest opposition party launched a scathing attack on the controversial US presidential candidate in a Facebook post to her supporters on Wednesday.

1 in 3 Danes believe Denmark is at war with Islam
A fighter jet launches from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: US Navy/Scanpix

A new survey finds that a sizeable minority of Danes believe that the country is at war with the religion of Islam and its adherents.

Study finds Danes are getting (even) taller

A new study found that the Danes have been getting even taller compared to the rest of the world over the last century.

Danish comedian slams prayer and religion in viral video
Photo: John MacDougall/Scanpix

A video by a Danish comedian has stirred up a heated debate on the utility of prayer and religion in general.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Culture
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
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
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
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
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
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’
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
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
2,313
jobs available