Since coming to power in June 2015, the only focus of Denmark’s current government seems to be immigration.
From breaking promises to Green Card holders, making life harder for foreigners and their Danish spouses, and introducing a citizenship test that not even the natives can pass, this government seems hell-bent on destroying the image of this lovely country.
The Venstre government, along the rabidly anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF), is locking every door possible in a bid to keep foreigners out. Now the government has released its 2025 Plan and announced its intentions to introduce even more restrictions on the immigrants who already call Denmark home.
The stricter requirements would impact the following areas for getting Permanent Residence Permit:
1. Today, foreign nationals must have resided legally in Denmark for at least 6 years in order to obtain a permanent residence permit which was 5 years before 10 December, 2015.
The new proposal requires to have a stay of 8 years. Raising the requirement will, moreover, have a corresponding effect on the access to the family reunification of spouses, seeing as today immigrants must have had a permanent residence permit for three years before they are eligible for family reunification.
2. Today, in order to obtain a permanent residence permit, foreign nationals must have held ordinary full-time employment or must have been self-employed for at least 2 years and 6 months within the last 3 years. The new proposal includes to raise the employment requirement so that in the future foreign nationals must have been employed for 3 years and 6 months within the last 4 years.
3. In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, it is currently required that foreign nationals meet a minimum of two out of the four supplementary integration-related requirements. According to the new proposal as is in current rules, if all four of the supplementary requirements are met, a permanent residence permit may be obtained after 4 years. Following are the four supplementary requirements;
You must have passed an active citizen exam test or have exhibited active citizenship in Denmark. Read more about active citizen.
You must have held a regular full-time employment or been self-employed for at least 4 years within the last 4 years and 6 months. Read more about employment.
You must have had a yearly taxable income that over the last 2 years has been DKK 270.000 (2016 level) or above on average. Read more about income.
You must have passed the Danish language test 3 (Prøve i Dansk 3) or a Danish language test of an equivalent or higher level. Read more about Danish language skills.
4. Today, in order to obtain a permanent residence permit, foreign nationals must not have received public relief in the past 3 years. The Government wishes to raise the requirement to 4 years.
5. Today, in order to obtain a permanent residence permit, foreign nationals must not have received a sentence of unconditional prison sentence of 1 year or more.
The Government wishes to lower the requirement regarding the length of unconditional prison sentence so that foreign nationals who have received an unconditional prison sentence of 6 months or more will be excluded from obtaining a permanent residence permit.
6. According to the current rules, a foreign national who receives a suspended prison sentence is precluded for obtaining a permanent residence permit for 4 years and 6 months after the sentence. The preclusion period for foreign nationals who is sentenced to an unconditional prison sentence of less than 6 months is currently 12 years from the time of release.
The Government wants to increase the preclusion periods so that they correspond to the penalty periods for obtaining Danish citizenship. This would mean that the preclusion period for suspended custodial sentences would be extended to 6 years instead of the current 4 years and 6 months and the preclusion period for mandatory custodial sentences of more than 60 days but less than 6 months would be extended to 15 years as opposed to the current 12 years.
In a nutshell, You are required to have stayed legally in Denmark for 8 years instead of the current 6 years stay and 5 years just few months ago. You must have been working for last 3 and half years in last 4 years instead of the current 2 and half years. The fast track for obtaining the PR within 4 years will remain the same as in the current rules.
While fully respecting the Danish democratic system, I believe it is unfair for parliament to consider these new proposals without first having received feedback from those who would be directly affected by them. Government as by the mandate of voters may plan to implement stricter rules for residence in Denmark, but those of us who have already lived for years and have done everything by the book to live up to the old and current rules would once again be cheated if these new plans become reality.
A fairer scenario would be to only apply any new rules to those who are yet to decide Denmark as their destination, not to those of us who have come here under a different set of rules and followed them at every bit.
If these new proposals are passed in parliament, it would mean that those who were suppose to get permanent residency in January 2016 will have to wait until January 2019. This will surely spread a further feeling of distrust among all immigrants.
The Govt unpredictable and controversial immigration policies will surely send a wrong message to the world about this country that we call home.
I urge Danish politicians to strongly oppose these new set of stricter and unjust plans.
Naqeeb Khan is a graduate of University of Glasgow, Scotland and currently residing in Denmark. He is President of Green Human Resources (GHR) and Executive member of Danish Green Card Association (DGCA).