Danish officials did not double-check criminal records of new citizens: report

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Danish officials did not double-check criminal records of new citizens: report
Danish immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek. The immigration ministry did not carry out supplementary background checks on new citizens according to a report. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Public servants at the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration did not undertake supplementary background checks on new citizens because they prioritised other tasks, according to a report.


Additional checks for previous criminal records of new Danish citizens, introduced in 2018, may not have been conducted in all cases by public servants at the Ministry of Immigration and Integration, newspaper Politiken reports.

Danish law allows authorities to revoke citizenship in cases where a person has not disclosed or lied about a criminal record when applying for naturalisation. Additional checks, made after citizenship is granted, are designed to enable this rule to be enforced.

The most recent checks of this type took place in 2021, according to Politiken, when 2 cases out of 1,255 new citizenship, dating from 2018, were referred to police for further investigation. Denmark approves new citizenship applications twice yearly.


The supplementary checks take place two years after citizenship has been granted. If a person has found to have lied or not disclosed relevant information, citizenship can be revoked because it was issued under a false claim.

The immigration minister, Kaare Dybvad Bek, stated in a letter to the parliamentary committee which deals with citizenship issues that staff had failed to prioritise the task.

“I have bee informed that this is due to a prioritisation of tasks at the citizenship department which was made by the office itself,” he said in the letter.

“I take this matter very seriously and I have therefore ordered the Ministry of Immigration and Integration to arrange for the supplementary checks of criminal records to be prioritised highly,” Bek states in the note.

“This is very regrettable and I have made it clear that if such a prioritisation is to be made, it must be at the minister’s desk,” he said.

Bek is set to be summoned to a committee hearing by the opposition Danish People’s Party over the issue. The party’s citizenship spokesperson called the matter a “scandal” in comments to Politiken.

Bek stressed to the newspaper that checks for criminal records have been made for all applicants. The missing checks are the supplementary extra background checks that take place after naturalisation.


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