Denmark Saw More Migrants Leave Than Arrive in 2019

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For the first time since 2011, more migrants and asylum seekers left Denmark than arrived at its borders in 2019.

The Danish Ministry for Refugees, Immigrants, and Integration reported that in 2019, the country saw 730 more migrants leave than arrive. This figure included both new asylum seekers and those moving to the country as part of a family reunification programme.

Syrians, Somalians, Iraqis, and Bosnians all saw more of their fellow citizens leave Denmark than arrive last year. The opposite was the case for Eritreans, Afghanis, and Iranians, Danish broadcaster DR reports.

Foreign Affairs and Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye commented on the migration statistics, saying: “I am pleased, first of all, because it shows in part that we can keep the influx at bay by pursuing a sensible policy in Denmark.”

“But also that there are refugees who would like to receive a bag of money and travel home and rebuild their own country,” he added.

Tesfaye admitted the numbers were currently small, as the country saw a net migration of around 16,000 people at the height of the 2015 migrant crisis, but said the figures showed the country was turning the corner on the issue.

The minister also noted the current left-wing government has not decided on whether it will bring in more UN quota refugees, stating that a decision will be made over the summer. Denmark has taken in around 500 such quota refugees per year since 1989.

The figures come just weeks after the Ministry for Refugees, Immigrants, and Integration announced it would be forming a new office labelled the home Travel Agency to help further increase the number of migrants without residency permits to leave the country.

“Now, we set up the Home Travel Agency to ensure that people also return home when they no longer have the right to be in Denmark. An authority that only works with home travel. I think that makes good sense,” Minister Tesfaye said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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