Denmark wants migrants to work at least 37 hours a week for welfare benefits

Photo: EPA PM Mette Frederiksen

Migrants in Denmark will be told to complete 37 hours' work a week in order to receive welfare benefits, the government said on Wednesday, AFP reported. Migration and integration have become key issues for voters in Denmark, which boasts some of Europe's toughest immigration policies. The Danish government, which has set a target of zero asylum applications, said the plan was designed to help migrants assimilate into society.

"We want to introduce a new work logic where people have a duty to contribute and be useful, and if they can't find a regular job, they have to work for their allowance," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters. "For too many years we have done a disservice to a lot of people by not demanding anything of them," she added of the plan, which needs to be approved by lawmakers.

Mai Villadsen, spokeswoman of the left-wing Unity List, condemned the announcement as misguided. "I'm afraid this will end up as state-supported social dumping, sending people into crazy jobs," she told broadcaster TV2.

Initially, it will be a requirement for those who have been on benefits for three to four years, and who have not attained a certain level of schooling and proficiency in Danish. Working hours will be a minimum of 37 hours a week, Frederiksen said.

According to the government, six out of 10 women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey do not participate in the Danish labour market.

The plan says it aims to integrate 20,000 people by pushing them to find some form of work, through local government offices. "It could be a job on the beach picking up cigarette butts or plastic... (or) helping to solve various tasks within a company," employment minister Peter Hummelgaard said. "The most important thing for us is that people get out of their homes," he added.

Frederiksen's government, in power since 2019, has set a target of zero asylum applications, which have already fallen. Just 851 were received between 1 January and 31 July this year.

According to official statistics, 11% of Denmark's 5.8 million people are immigrants, and 58% of those are citizens of a country that Copenhagen classifies as "non-Western".

Last April, there were protests in Copenhagen against the Danish government's plan to deport Syrian refugees after Denmark refused to renew their residency permits.

Similar articles

  • Volcano erupts on Spanish Canary Island

    Volcano erupts on Spanish Canary Island

    A volcano erupted on Sunday on the La Palma Canary Island. As a result of the eruption in the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island huge fountains of lava and clouds of smoke and ash were released. No fatalities have been reported so far.

    20
  • Vaccination surges as Italy makes it mandatory for workers

    Vaccination surges as Italy makes it mandatory for workers

    The bookings for Covid-19 vaccinations surged in Italy after the government made inoculation mandatory for all workers both in public and private sectors in some of the toughest measures adopted worldwide. The number of people booking appointments more than doubled on daily basis over the weekend, Reuters elaborated.

    34
  • Kaczynski: Primacy of EU laws ruins Poland’s sovereignty

    Kaczynski: Primacy of EU laws ruins Poland’s sovereignty

    Poland accused the EU of unacceptable interference in the country’s sovereignty. Warsaw further noted the EU was blackmailing Poland to pass primacy of the Union’s legislation over local laws by freezing massive funds envisaged to secure the restoration of the country from pandemic, Reuters elaborated. The ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a letter quoted by state news agency that Warsaw will not bow under the pressure.

    72