Danish plan to make migrants work for money affects ‘fewer than intended’

Danish plan to make migrants work for money affects 'fewer than intended'
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Around 43 percent of the 20,000 persons in the government’s target group for a proposed 37-hour work obligation for unemployed migrants are likely to be exempted from the requirement.

A leaked note from the employment and finance ministries, reported by newspaper Jyllands-Posten, shows that existing rules will give dispensation to almost have of the people the government intends the proposed new rule to encompass.

Dispensation could be given to 8,600 persons, meaning they would not be required to meet the 37 hours of work the government plans to require in certain cases in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

In a plan announced last month, the government wants to propose the requirement initially for those who have been on benefits for three to four years, and who have not attained a certain level of schooling and proficiency in Danish. It could be extended to others at a later stage.

Working hours will be a minimum of 37 hours a week.

According to the government, six out of 10 women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey do not participate in the Danish labour market.

The plan says it aims to integrate 20,000 people by pushing them to find some form of work, through local government offices.


Opposition politicians have criticised the government after reports emerged that the plan may in fact impact fewer than was initially pronounced.

“I think this again shows the government has puffed its proposal up to be something it isn’t,” Liberal party spokesperson for integration Morten Dahlin said.

In a written comment to Jyllands-Posten, employment minister Peter Hummelgaard said “not everyone would be able to contribute the 37 hours because they have other problems than unemployment”.

“What’s crucial is that people participate in a common work effort for as many hours as possible. That’s why municipalities should plan these efforts with this in mind,” he added.

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