Denmark: Fewer immigrants receiving public support

The combination of a healthy job market and a stricter immigration policy has helped reduce the number of non-ethnic Danes receiving public assistance

The number of young immigrants from non-Western countries receiving public assistance has fallen by half in the past five years, according to the Confederation of Danish Employees.

In 2001, 28 percent of immigrants in Denmark aged 18-29 received public assistance. By 2006, the number had fallen to 14 percent. For the children of immigrants, the figure had fallen from 10 percent to 7 percent. The figure for Danes remained stable at 5 percent over the period.

The most obvious reason for the improvement, according to Hans Hummelgaard of AKF, the research unit for local councils, is a strong economy that is making use of all available hands. But he also pointed out that the trend was self-reinforcing.

'We know that when non-ethnic Danes find work, they create networks, which makes it easier for others to find work.'

With a job market that is becoming characterised by what the employment minister has called 'a permanent lack of workers', companies are also eager to hire more immigrants. Over 80 percent of managers said they were 'very positive' or 'positive' about doing so.

'Danes can see that we need workers, and they can see that problems with integration are being solved, and that dispels a lot of myths,' said Erik Bonnerup, head of the Integration Ministry's Think Tank.

Since coming to power in 2001, the Liberal-Conservative government has placed an emphasis on overhauling immigration regulations. The changes have resulted in fewer immigrants, which experts say have improved chances for non-ethnic Danes already living here.

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

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