Denmark passes special law for Ukrainian refugees

The Danish parliament has passed a special law giving Ukrainian refugees access to school, the labour market and social welfare in the Nordic country.

Danish ministers present the country's new special law for Ukrainian refugees
Danish ministers present the country's new special law for Ukrainian refugees on March 17th 2022. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The new law was passed after the completion of an expedited process in parliament on Thursday evening, after some sticking points between parties over its financing.

The special “Ukrainian law” eases the process for Ukrainians compared to the normal asylum system, and is designed to enable them to start work and school as soon as possible after coming to Denmark.

It allows for a two-year residence permit with the option of a one-year extension.

One party – the Independent Greens – opposed the law, while three – the Alternative and far-right Nye Borgerlige and Danish People’s Party – abstained.

A number of amendments to the law were proposed during the expedited parliamentary procedure, but the bill was passed in its original form.

Left wing and centre-left parties, normally allied with the minority Social Democratic government, voted in favour of the law despite reservations about the foreign development aid budget being used to finance it.

The special law will cost 2.2 billion kroner in 2022 with over 2 billion of that taken from Denmark’s foreign development aid budget.

“We have had low asylum numbers for many years. That has meant that very little money from the Danish development framework has been spent on taking in refugees,” immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye said in parliament.

“We are now in a different situation,” he said.

The Conservative Party tabled an amendment that would have separated rules under the law, differentiating between Ukrainian nationals and refugees who have applied for asylum in Ukraine. The amendment was not adopted but the Conservatives voted for the bill anyway.

The law came into effect on Thursday, meaning Ukrainians can now apply for residence in Denmark under its terms.

The first residency permits under the law could be issued this weekend.

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Denmark announces seven-billion kroner Ukraine fund

A majority in the Danish parliament has approved a new fund to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion.

Denmark announces seven-billion kroner Ukraine fund

The fund, which consists of seven billion kroner (€940 million), will be targeted at Danish military, civilian and commercial assistance to Ukraine, according to the Nordic country’s finance ministry.

“Last year, we came together in a historic national compromise on Danish security policies. That was necessary in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a statement.

“With today’s agreement we give some seven million additional kroner to the efforts in Ukraine, and this will happen on a fully economically responsible basis,” he added.

All of parliament’s parties with the exception of the left-wing Red Green Alliance and Alternative parties voted for the fund.

Some 5.4 billion of the total 7 billion kroner will be spent on military assistance to Ukraine, with 1.2 billion kroner on civilian needs and 400 million to support businesses.

Part of the spending is funded by Denmark’s international development budget, while over 5 billion comes from spending an increased portion of the national GDP on the 2023 budget, news wire Ritzau states.

The money is designed to “retain a high level for military support” and “make a genuine difference for the Ukrainians,” acting defence minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

“Their fight is our fight,” he added.