Officials prepare refugee tents in Thisted. Up to 450 refugees are expected to be transferred to the tents later this week. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix
Saying that Denmark “should not take in so many refugees that it threatens the cohesion of our country,” the government announced a series of proposed changes to its asylum policies on Friday.
If approved, the changes would represent the third round of tightened restrictions in the past 15 months. The previous Social Democrat-led government introduced temporary residence permits for asylum seekers and limited refugees’ ability to bring family members to the country.
Shortly after taking power in June, the Venstre government slashed the benefits given to asylum seekers and then publicized the changes through an advertising campaign and social media.
On Friday, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Integration Minister Inger Støjberg and Justice Minister Søren Pind announced a series of initiatives aimed at aimed at further discouraging asylum seekers from coming to Denmark.
“It has long been the government’s position that the terms and conditions applied in the area of asylum have an impact on how attractive Denmark is to asylum seekers,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry read.
“That is why the government, as one of its first political initiatives, introduced new and reduced benefits for asylum seekers. And that is why the government is now carrying out further initiatives to tighten the conditions for asylum and reduce the access to Denmark,” it continued.
Here is the full list of proposed initiatives, as released by the Foreign Ministry:
Changes to the regulations applied in the area of asylum
1. Limiting the duration of residence permits granted to refugees
2. Postponing of the right to family reunification for refugees with temporary protection
3. Tightening the conditions for permanent residence permit
4. Tightening the rules on revoking refugees’ residence permits
5. Introducing fees for services
6. Increasing user charges for asylum seekers’ stay in Denmark
7. Enhancing control with financial means brought by asylum seekers
8. Reducing the number of people on food allowances by enhanced use of cafeterias in asylum centers
9. Reducing economic benefits for asylum seekers
10. Rollback of strengthened asylum counselling
11. Rollback of the asylum agreement
12. Broadening of the integration allowance to include more people
13. Reforming the spouse reunification rules
14. Reintroducing the “potential for integration” criteria when choosing quota refugees
15. Abolishing of the state funding of transport to people who are family reunified with refugees living in Denmark
Return of rejected asylum seekers, etc.
16. Strengthened efforts to return rejected asylum seekers and other immigrants without legal stay in Denmark to their home countries
17. Increased use of detention of rejected asylum seekers etc .
18. Shorter deadlines for the departure of rejected asylum seekers
19. Closer monitoring of foreigners in the departure centre
20. New departure centre at a distance from major cities
21. More consistent use of reporting requirements and stays duty
New possibilities for the authorities to expand accommodation and detention capacity
22. Increased capacity for accommodation, including tents
23. Ability to derogate from the Planning Act concerning accommodation for asylum seekers
24. Ability to make use of public property for asylum accommodation or detention facilities in emergency cases without obtaining the owner's consent
25. Ability to make municipalities responsible for operating asylum centers
26. Possibility of requesting assistance from the private sector to assist with or
handle statutory tasks on immigration
New possibilities for the police to control foreigners’ entry and stay in Denmark and maintain law and order
27. Establishment of reception centres.
28. Opportunity to limit judicial review of detention of foreigners to cases where judicial review is requested.
29. Opportunity to detain asylum seekers in order to clarify identity etc.
30. Tightened penalty for begging.
31. Opportunity to suspend operation of bus- train- and ferry-services.
Greater flexibility in allocation of refugee housing
32. Relaxation of requirements concerning space etc. in the allocation of refugee housing
33. Relaxation of the rules regarding noise and environment in the allocation of refugee housing
34. A strengthened integration programme