Flanked by three members of her cabinet, PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt presented a packaged entitled ‘Everyone must contribute' (Alle skal bidrage) that aims to get newcomers to Denmark working “as soon as possible”.
The new package comes hot on the heels of an analysis that showed that just one out of every four refugees who came to Denmark between 2000-2003 was employed ten years later.
In a press release, the Employment Ministry admitted that the nation's current integration programme has “not been good enough”.
“We must do away with the sins of the past. A too large proportion of our immigrants are after years of living in Denmark still living a passive existence far from the job market. We will make an extraordinary effort for them,” Employment Minister Henrik Dam Kristensen said.
The new plan will give the nation's job centres 44 million kroner to get put refugees and immigrants through a “job-focused integration programme”.
The plan calls for newly-arrived refugees and those in the country through the family reunification scheme to find or be assigned work within three months. This includes what the government has labelled 'usefulness jobs' (nyttejob), temporary assignments that resemble community service.
The job focus will be combined with Danish language courses, and refugees and immigrants under the age of 30 will also be given the “right and obligation” to obtain education that will make them more likely to get a job.
“We want to make our integration efforts more job-focused. Everyone who comes to Denmark should contribute,” Thorning-Schmidt said when presenting the plan.
“It won't be easy but we are convinced that we can't do what we have done before. The efforts need to be more urgent and they need to ensure that [refugees and immigrants] get closer to the companies,” she added.
The government plans to fast-track its plan with the hope that it can take effect as early as June 1st.