Denmark Mulls Stripping Syrians of Refugee Status So They Can Return

Refugees, mainly from Syria, speak with a Danish policeman after arriving in Rodby, southern Denmark, from Germany on September 7, 2015. Europe's migrant crisis has exposed sharp rifts in the 28-nation European Union, with Germany leading calls to take in many more people fleeing war and upheaval in the Middle …

Denmark will examine the refugee status of Syrians from Damascus and potentially withdraw their residency as the area has become safer.

The assessments come after the Danish Refugee Board determined that the Damascus area was safe for Syrian refugees to return to in five different cases in both May and June.

“Conditions in Damascus in Syria are no longer so severe that there is a basis for granting or extending temporary residence permits under section 7 (2) of the Aliens Act. 3 (temporary protection status) with reference to the general conditions of persons from this area,” the government said in a press release.

“Last year, almost 100,000 refugees returned to Syria from the surrounding areas. Of course, their countrymen who have been granted protection in Europe must also go home when conditions in Syria permit,” Danish Foreign Affairs and Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye said.

“Therefore, I have now decided that we must quickly review the pile of cases with refugees from Damascus to investigate who no longer needs protection in Denmark. We are ready with quite a large bag of return travel money for those who have to go back and rebuild their lives in Syria,” he added.

Around 5,000 migrants from Syria have been granted temporary protection status since 2015, and about 100 Syrians chose to return to their country in 2019 with Danish support. Sixty-four have used the programme this year from January until the end of May.

Last year, for the first time in nearly a decade, Denmark saw more migrants and asylum seekers leave the country than arrive.

In April, Minister Tesfaye announced the creation fo the Home Travel Agency, an office within the Ministry of Immigration and Integration to help return rejected asylum seekers to their countries.

“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,” Tesfaye said.

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


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