The petition, launched by Naqeeb Khan, of the Danish Green Card Association, called for Denmark's government to excuse foreigners living in Denmark for least three months the requirement that they earn a minimum annual income of 320,000 kroner and work at least 120 hours a month.
The alternative, they warned, would be “a humanitarian crisis as thousands of immigrants might lose the right to stay in Denmark through no fault of their own”.
“In the current global corona pandemic and economic lockdown, where thousands of immigrants have lost their jobs, it is now impossible to fulfil these requirements,” the signatories complained.
In an open letter to Denmark's immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye, Khan said that foreigners living in Denmark were facing a double crisis due to coronavirus: as well as facing the lockdown, due to Denmark's strict immigration rules, they risked expulsion from the country when they next sought to renew their work permits.
“One might justify these strict rules in normal circumstances, but asking for the same level of income and work despite Covid-19 crisis and lockdown is unfair and irrational,” Khan wrote.
He said temporary waiving of work permit requirements would be in keeping with other special measures taken by the government during the crisis, “like the suspension of 225 hours of work per year rule for Danish national getting cash help and the handshake requirement for new citizens”.
“This will give a fair chance to these immigrants to fulfil the requirements when the lockdown is over,” he argued. “These immigrants will thus be able to focus on their daily life and safeguard themselves and their families from coronavirus and its aftermath.”