Denmark Replaces Unemployment Benefits With ‘Integration Benefit’: Payments Depend on Migrants Learning Danish

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

State benefits for migrants to Denmark will be cut by 45 per cent tomorrow, with fresh conditions requiring new arrivals to speak Danish to an acceptable level before they can claim higher levels of support.

The new monthly level of the integration benefit will be set at the same level as Danish student support grants – dkk 7,445 (£700), falling significantly from the present unemployment benefit level of dkk 10,849 a month (£1,030), reports New language requirements mean if migrants are unable to pass an intermediate Danish fluency test, the benefit will be cut by a further kr 1,500 (£140) a month. The Danish government says the change should have a positive impact on Danish society, stating:

“The government will, as promised during the election, quickly implement a new integration benefit for new arrivals, in order to make Denmark a less attractive destination while making it more attractive to work and contribute to Danish society”.

“This is the first in a number of restrictions that the government will implement to get immigration and integration under control again”.

While initially the cut will only apply to new migrants, by next year the upgraded system will apply to all foreigners who haven’t lived in Denmark for seven out of the past eight years.

The move is part of a raft of new measures being introduced by the Danish government, elected a fortnight ago to replace the left wing, social democrat government which had ruled and presided over record levels of immigration since 2011. The robust policies, including the re-introduction of border checks to intercept criminals and human traffickers are being pushed through to placate ‘Denmark’s UKIP’, the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkpartei, DF) which is offering crucial voting support to the right-wing coalition government in parliament.

Although DF emerged from the election the largest right-wing party, they have declined to join the centre-right Venestre party in coalition because of irreconcilable differences. Regardless, DF is still seeing some of its policies introduced, and is helping bring Denmark to a more rational approach to migration in return for its support for other Venestre policies.

The sudden success of ‘Denmark’s UKIP’, who are now regaining control of borders and discouraging the ingress of migrants while calling for a referendum on Denmark’s membership of the European Union may provide inspiration to other European countries, not least to the British and Dutch, both of whom also have strong anti-migration, anti-European Union, conservative parties that are close to breaking through and having a strong influence on government policy.

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