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Listhaug embraces Danish immigration policy

Sylvi Listhaug immigration policySylvi Listhaug.Photo: Ørn Borgen / NTB scanpix

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Listhaug embraces Danish immigration policy

The Danes’ very restrictive immigration policy is a wet dream to Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party). Listhaug travelled to Copenhagen on Wednesday to learn more about it.


“Really great!” Listhaug tells NTB after a meeting with the Danish controversial Immigration Minister, Inger Støjberg.

There she was met by a hug before being introduced to the so-called «paradigm change» of the Danes. This was recently adopted by a majority in the Danish Parliament (Folketinget).

The legislative changes entail, among other changes, that refugees will be given temporary residence to a greater extent. They will also be repatriated when their originating country is considered as safe.

In addition, stricter requirements are to be imposed on refugees. It will be cut out from in various support schemes to boot. The combined austerity measures are meant to ensure that fewer refugees and reunited family members remain in Denmark.

Heaps of inspiration

“I have gained heaps of inspiration to persevere and make good contributions to the program process of the Progress Party,” Listhaug comments. Listhaug is the Leader of the Immigration and Integration Committee of the Progress Party (Frp).

She particularly highlights more use of temporary residencies. Something which she claims the Refugee Convention, in reality, has as its point of departure.

“If there is peace in your home country, you must go back to it,” she asserts.

“What consequences could this have for integration, when people know that they can be sent home any time?”

“In Denmark, they now place stricter requirements on refugees. This has led to more people coming into a workplace faster”, Listhaug replies.

Must provide for themselves

In Denmark, you can now apply for permanent residence after eight years, against three years in Norway. If you have been unemployed, doesn’t speak adequate Danish, or has committed crimes, chances are minuscule that the application will be granted,” Støjberg informs NTB.

Despite several controversial measures, the trend is moving in the right direction,” she states. Among other effects, 45 per cent of those who have been in Denmark for three years, is now working.

“Three years ago it was 21 per cent,” Støjberg explains. She has been behind over 100 austerity measures in the Danish asylum policy after she took over the ministerial posting in 2015.

“The goal for me, is first and foremost that we have control over how many arrive in Denmark. We can then ensure that people become part of this society, as long as they reside here. This entails that as long as you are here, you have to provide for yourself,” she continues.

Big differences

For the past ten years, Denmark has welcomed just over 100,000 refugees, while Norway has accepted 175,000. According to the Immigration Policy Spokesperson of the Progress Party, Jon Engen-Helgheim.

“The Danish no to quota refugees, coupled with a far more restrictive family reunification policy, are the main reasons for the big difference,” he believes.

Denmark has not accepted a single quota refugee since 2015.

Immigration Policy Spokesperson of The Labour Party, Masud Gharahkhani, is far less impressed with the Danish asylum policy than Listhaug is. He also reminds that the Progress Party shares the immigration policy with the Liberals, Christian Democrats and Conservatives.

“All the initiatives by the Progress Party must thus be checked up against the following: Is this promoted by the Government, or is it policy initiatives from them?” he inquisitively asks Dagbladet.

The Copenhagen trip takes place at the same time as the Progress Party experiences a drop in support in the opinion polls.

Difference

Gharahkhani also highlights that there is a difference between Norway, Denmark and Sweden on the issue.

“Our solutions are neither based on Danish or Swedish politics, but what we think is right for the Immigration Policy of Norway,” Gharahkhani concludes.

The Danish sister party of the Norwegian Labor Party, the Social-Democratic Party (Socialdemokratiet), has voted in favour of most of Støjberg’s austerity measures.


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