• 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
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Competitors perform on stage during Israel's first Miss Trans beauty pageant last week. Photo: Menahem Kahana/Scanpix

Nation becomes the first in the world to officially no longer consider being transgender a mental illness.

Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Integration Minister Inger Støjberg. Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix

Following an EU ruling last month, the Danish government is fast-tracking new legislation that will put greater emphasis on children's ‘ability to integrate’.

After 1,000 years, ‘forgotten’ Danish Viking fortress opens
The 'forgotten' Viking fortress is one of five in Denmark. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

The historic discovery of a fifth Viking ring fortress was celebrated in grand style on Monday and will open to the public on Wednesday.

Danish royals: Only Prince Christian should get money
Only Prince Christian, shown here with his father Crown Prince Frederik at the opening of a revamped Skovshoved Marina, should expect taxpayer funding. Photo: Michael Bothager/Scanpix

Danish MPs may not need to decide which royal grandchildren to cut off financially after all.

American tourists flocking to Copenhagen
The number of overnight stays and international passengers are both up sharply in the first quarter of 2016. Photo:

American tourists flocking to Copenhagen

1 day ago

A number of new low-price flight options have given the Danish capital a major tourism boost.

My Danish Career
'I was fired from my first Danish job after nine days'
Henrik Cullen is a British-born expat who also holds Danish nationality. Photo: Juan Franco

In the latest instalment of My Danish Career, we spot with British-Danish 'local expat' Henrik Cullen who overcame a rough start to find success in Copenhagen.

Danish man gets stuck in museum chimney
Not the actual chimney. Photo: Adrian Scottow/Flickr

Maybe he just couldn't wait until the museum opened on Monday.

Denmark ready to cut off money to royal grandkids
Queen Margrethe and her eight grandchildren waving to well-wishers on the queens's birthday last month. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix 2016

Politicians appear ready to limit the number of Queen Margrethe’s grandchildren who get an annual salary from the state.

First service marks Battle of Jutland centenary
A memorial park to mark the world's largest naval battle that took place May 31, 1916 during World War will soon open in Denmark. Photo: Scanpix

Britain yesterday kicked off a week of commemorations marking one hundred years since the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of World War I.

Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
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...
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
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
National
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
National
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Society
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
National
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
National
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
International
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
Culture
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Society
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
2,286
jobs available