Denmark Tells Migrants From Islamic Countries to Work 37 Hours a Week to Get Welfare Benefits

The Danish government introduced a new government plan on Tuesday under which migrants could be forced to work 37 hours a week in exchange for welfare benefits.

The proposal of the minority Social Democratic government said that "there are still too many people, especially with non-Western backgrounds, who do not have a job to get up to" in the morning.

Work or Lose Benefits

"If you come to Denmark, you have to work and support yourself and your family," the proposal says. Initially, it will be a requirement 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, reported InfoMigrants.

"We want to introduce a new work logic where people have a duty to contribute and be useful, and if they can't find a regular job, they have to work for their allowance," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

"For too many years we have done a disservice to a lot of people by not demanding anything of them," she said.

The bill has yet to be approved by Parliament.

Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Wikimedia Commons

Is the Proposal Targeting Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants?

The prime minister said that the rules were aimed at migrant women. The government says six out of 10 women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey are not in work.

"It is basically a problem when we have such a strong economy, where the business community demands labour, that we then have a large group, primarily women with non-Western backgrounds, who are not part of the labour market," she said.

"It could be a job on the beach picking up cigarette butts or plastic... (or) helping to solve various tasks within a company," Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard said.

"The most important thing for us is that people get out of their homes," he added.

The government said the new plan was designed to help migrants assimilate into Danish society, but some have said the rules are misguided and unfair.

Mai Villadsen, spokesperson for Denmark's left-wing Unity List, said the government's plan was misguided.

"I'm afraid this will end up as state-supported social dumping, sending people into crazy jobs," she told the broadcaster TV2.

Denmark Sets a Target of Zero Asylum Applications

Denmark has repeatedly tightened its immigration policies in recent years. Over the past decade, successive Danish governments have enacted increasingly tough measures to restrict non-European immigration, according to The Times.

Frederiksen's government, in power since 2019, has set a target of zero asylum applications, which have already fallen. Between January 1 and July 31 this year, just 851 asylum applications were received in Denmark, AFP reports.

Social Media Reactions

Some netizens have supported the plan while others have termed it a foolish plan. One internet user said, "I strongly agree with Prime minister Mette Frederiksen too many live off of welfare for years & some cheat the system." Another wrote, "Well done, Denmark! I wish other countries thought and did the same."

One comment read, "Hats off Denmark you are going on the correct path. You cannot have adults coming into your country and enjoying benefits offered by the state by doing nothing. Let them work and contribute to the economy of the country!"

Another comment said, "Every country should equalise the working opps. between migrants & locals. Companies hire local vs. migrants. Qualifications abroad don't transfer over. You create systems which disadvantage the migrants & then call them lazy when they can't secure a job."