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10,000 unemployed immigrants lose basic benefits in Denmark

10,000 unemployed immigrants that immigrated to Denmark before 2008 are set to have their basic welfare cut due to an agreement between the government and three right wing parties.

To receive basic unemployment benefits (Kontanthjælp), a person must have been in full time employment for at least two and a half years, within the last 10 years. Limits on the cash assistance programme called Beskæftigelseskrav previously only applied to migrants after 2008, but now has been changed to all migrants, regardless of when they arrived in Denmark.

This change, which was announced last Thursday, means that people who don’t meet this criteria and are non-Danish nationals, can only receive the “self-support and return home benefit” programme, which was previously called Integrationsydelse.

This means that more than 10,000 people transfer to the lowest benefit in the cash assistance system – of which the vast majority previously received.

Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, Denmark’s Employment Minister, stated, “There are too many who have come to Denmark and have been on cash benefits for many years without being in work. We cannot accept that. We will have to make demands. We do this by harmonizing the rules on the employment requirement for those who traveled to Denmark before 2008 and after 2008.”