Europe

Denmark to cut asylum-seeker benefits under new leaders

  • 1 July 2015
  • From the section Europe
DPP leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl
Image caption DPP leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl heads the second-biggest group in parliament

Denmark's new centre-right government has announced plans to reduce social benefits for asylum-seekers.

Single asylum-seekers without children will get an integration benefit of 5,945 kroner (£564) a month before tax, instead of the current 10,849.

Married couples with children will be able to get 16,638 kroner monthly, instead of the current 28,832.

Immigrants who pass a Danish language test will be entitled to a 1,500 kroner monthly bonus.

On Friday the proposal is expected to be passed by parliament, where the Venstre-led (Liberal) government is supported by the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP).

The new integration benefit - replacing unemployment benefit for migrants - would then become law in September. EU migrant workers will not be affected by it.

Denmark has adopted some of the toughest immigration policies in the EU in recent years, as the DPP's political influence has grown.

Image caption Danish border checks will be stepped up to fight smuggling and illegal entry

First- and second-generation immigrants form 12% of Denmark's 5.6 million population.

"We must tighten up so we can get to grips with the asylum stream to Denmark," said Immigration Minister Inger Stoejberg, quoted by the Copenhagen Post.

In the run-up to last month's election, Venstre leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen - now prime minister - said action was needed "so that the influx of asylum-seekers and people coming here through family reunification is brought under control".

Separately, the government says more police and monitoring equipment will be installed at the border with Germany to stop smugglers and irregular migrants entering Denmark.

However, the measures would not violate the EU's Schengen rules on unrestricted travel, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said.

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