Denmark Offers Immigrants £12,000 to Return Home

Daily News Article   —   Posted on November 13, 2009

Note:  This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

(from Telegraph.co.uk) – Denmark has increased by tenfold the amount of money offered to immigrants who return home permanently to 100,000 kroner (£12,000), officials said on Monday.

The centre-Right minority government reached an agreement with its key ally, the far-Right Danish People’s Party (DPP), on the issue late on Sunday as part of their 2010 budget negotiations.

A financial incentive of 11,000 kroner had until now been offered to immigrants to resettle in their country of origin.

The [plan] is aimed at immigrants from outside the European Union and Nordic countries, DPP deputy leader Peter Skaarup told the news service AFP [Agence France Presse].

“It in practice targets those nationals from non-Western countries who are struggling to adapt to Danish society and who would be tempted by a fairly significant sum to go back home forever,” he said.

Mr. Skaarup said those taking up the offer would receive 11,000 kroner up front.

The remainder of the 100,000 kroner would be paid out once they surrendered their Danish residency permits, he added.

The agreement also calls for 20 million kroner in aid to city councils in charge of integrating immigrants, to help them “motivate” foreigners to return home.

According to the refugee, immigrant and integration ministry, some 2,524 people have voluntarily left Denmark since 1997, when the repatriation programme was introduced.

Most of them were from the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Somalia and Turkey.

Immigrants represent 7.3 per cent of Denmark’s population of 5.5 million, including 4.5 per cent from non-Western countries.

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Questions

1. a) How much money is the Danish government paying to each immigrant who agree to return to their home countries permanently? (in U.S. dollars)
b) How much had they previously offered?

2. Which immigrant populations is the program targeting?

3. a) Why has the Danish government implemented this program?
b) Although unstated in this article, which religious group do you think the program is targeting?

4. How would the program work?

5. What do you think of the Danish government’s program?

6. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Read the commentary linked to under “Resources” below. Does this commentary persuade you to change your opinion about the Danish government’s program? Explain your answer.


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Background

Political life in Denmark is orderly and democratic. Political changes occur gradually through a process of consensus, and political methods and attitudes are generally moderate. Growing numbers of immigrants and refugees throughout the 1990s, and less than successful integration policies, however, have in recent years led to growing support for populist anti-immigrant sentiments in addition to several revisions of already tight immigration laws, with the latest revision taking effect July 1, 2002. …

Denmark’s relatively quiet and neutral role in international affairs was abruptly changed on September 30, 2005, when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed 12 caricatures of Mohammed. Islamic law prohibits any visual portrayal of Mohammed, and Muslims viewed the caricatures as offensive. Muslims worldwide were infuriated with the Danes, beginning a boycott of Danish products and burning several Danish embassies. The Danish Government during the crisis sought to defend freedom of expression even as it chastised the newspaper for insensitivity toward a religious minority. The newspaper apologized, and the Danish Government repeatedly reiterated its support for freedom of religion, but some animosity toward Denmark within the international Islamic community lingers.  (from state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3167.htm#political)

Resources

Read a commentary about Denmark’s immigration policies at aina.org/news/20080718105208.htm.

For background on Denmark, go to the U.S. State Department website at state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3167.htm.

For a map of Denmark, go to worldatlas.com.