Denmark takes step back on confiscating migrants’ cash

COPENHAGEN, Jan 9:  The Danish government announced it is modifying a proposed law to make migrants pay for their stay under its generous welfare state, plans which had drawn international criticism.
Under the first draft of the bill, due go before parliament on January 13, migrants would have been entitled to keep only cash and valuables worth around 400 euros USD 435.
But in the face of criticism — and comparisons to Nazi Germany’s seizing of gold and valuables from Jews and others during World War II — Integration Minister Inger Stojberg yesterday said the total sum would be increased to 1,300 euros.
In addition, items for personal use such as mobile phones and watches as well as items of sentimental value such as wedding rings will be exempted, the ministry said in a statement.
The centre-right minority government has defended the bill, arguing that Danish nationals seeking welfare handouts can expect similar treatment.
“It is already the case that if you as a Dane have valuables for more than 10,000 kroner (USD 1,450, 1,340 euros) it may be required that this is sold before you can receive unemployment benefits,” Stojberg said last month.
The proposed law is the latest in a string of moves by Copenhagen to avoid the kind of refugee influx seen in neighbouring Sweden, where around 150,000 people had applied for asylum by the end of November 2015 compared to just 18,000 in Denmark.
Other measures have included shortening residence permits, delaying family reunifications and placing adverts in Lebanese newspapers to deter migrants.
“In Denmark, if one can manage on one’s own, one manages on one’s own. It’s a principle which must apply as much to asylum seekers as it applies to Danes,” Stojberg said yesterday, quoted by the Ritzau news agency. (AGENCIES)


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