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IMMIGRATION

Refugees lead Danes into higher-paying jobs: study

A new analysis from the University of Copenhagen shows that an influx of refugees doesn’t increase unemployment amongst Danes but instead pushes them toward better-paying jobs, Finans reported on Friday.

Refugees lead Danes into higher-paying jobs: study
The analysis concluded that an influx of refugees forces Danish workers to find better jobs. Photo: Colourbox
The results go directly against the warnings of Danish labour unions, who have argued that refugees and other immigrants entering the labour force make unemployment rise amongst native Danes. 
 
“During previous refugee influxes Danish unskilled workers and those with low education have found other jobs that pay them higher salaries. Refugees have complemented the existing workforce, not replaced it,” economist Mette Foged told Finans. 
 
Along with a researcher from the University of California, Foged analysed the workforce impact of refugees who arrived in Denmark between 1991 and 2008. 
 
They found that refugees from the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and Iraq took over the most manual jobs and that in turn forced Danish unskilled workers to specialize themselves and seek out better paying jobs. 
 
The analysis concluded that arrival of refugees increases the salaries of unskilled workers on the whole. When the number of refugees entering the labour market increased by one percent, Danes’ salaries rose by 1.0 – 1.8 percent. 
 
Labour union 3F rejected the analysis’s conclusion and said that refugees have a clear negative impact on unskilled workers. 
 
“There are significantly fewer unskilled jobs. We already face an enormous challenge and the refugee influx only makes the challenge that much larger,” 3F economist Frederik Pedersen told Ritzau. 
 
Pedersen said that the results of the analysis can’t be compared to the situation today, when significantly more refugees are coming to Denmark than in the 1990s and 2000s. 
 
“Plus [the analysis] was based on a golden period. Employment increased by several hundred thousand and despite that increase there was still a shortage of manpower,” he said. “The situation is completely different today.”
 
Pedersen said that 3F is concerned that the roughly 500,000 unskilled workers in Denmark will end up either unemployed or in lower-paying jobs.
 
Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen has made the employment of refugees a central theme in his ongoing tripartite negotiations with business and union representatives.
 
The University of Copenhagen analysis will be published in the April edition of the American Economic Journal. 

POLITICS

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.

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