Middle Eastern migrants are rejecting Denmark as a country in which to seek asylum, claiming that the “salaries” offered to “refugees” are not as high as other European countries. They are now demanding to go to Sweden or Finland as the terms of asylum there are more favourable.
In a report by Denmark’s TV2 News, migrants told a local journalist that they do not want to stay in Denmark, but are choosing instead to head to Sweden to register for asylum.
Speaking conversational English, one migrant told the reporter “We want Sweden.” When she puts it to him that Sweden is 500km (310miles), he smiles and replies: “No problem. We walked from Syria to here [with] no problem.”
Marwen el Mohammed, another asylum seeker in Denmark told the reporter that there were two reasons the men did not want to seek asylum in Denmark, a peaceful country. “The first one: the salary for refugees decreased about 50 per cent from 10,000 kroner to about 5,000,” he said.
The second is that Finland and other neighbouring countries allow the migrants to bring their families to join them within two to three months, whereas Denmark makes them wait for a year and a half before they bring their families over. “This is a long time to have left our family behind,” he said.
In the face of hundreds of thousands of migrants entering Europe to claim asylum, the Danish government last week tightened immigration rules.
According to the Danish immigration authorities, the Danish Parliament agreed to slash social benefits for newly arrived refugees by 50 per cent; foreign nationals will not be able to bring family to Denmark for a year; and foreign nationals must wait at least five years for a permanent residence permit. In addition, only those who can speak and understand Danish will be granted a permit.
The rules around deportation of failed asylum seekers have also been altered to ensure that they leave the country, via a new “special return centre” to ensure that rejected asylum seekers leave Denmark as quickly as possible.
This is not the first time Denmark has tightened immigration laws. The country saw the number of people applying for asylum plunge early this year after it brought in new laws which introduced a temporary, one year residence permit for those fleeing wars such as the one in Syria.
Consequently, just 626 people, half of whom were from Syria, applied for asylum in Denmark in January, down from 3,150 in September 2014, according to The Local.
Meanwhile Sweden, who in 2013 became the first European country to grant automatic residency to Syrian refugees, has seen record numbers of asylum requests.