Danish govt wants foreigners to work to access welfare

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Danish government presented a proposal on Tuesday which is aimed at getting foreigners and people with an immigrant background 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.

“If you come to Denmark, you have to work and support yourself and your family,” it says.

No date has yet been set for the 179-seat parliament to vote on the proposal. Though the Social Democrats do not have a majority, they would likely get support from center-right lawmakers to pass it.

Mai Villadsen, a lawmaker with the opposition Red-Green Alliance, called the idea “foolish.” She argued that it could lead to “social dumping,” which is downward pressure on wages for others in the work force.

“The foundation of our welfare society is a strong safety net,” Villadsen wrote on Twitter.

Many women of foreign descent remain outside the labor market, especially women with roots in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, the proposal read.

The government wants “effort and performance go hand in hand” with social benefits, and “if one cannot support oneself, one must have a duty to participate and contribute what is equivalent to a regular working week to receive the full welfare benefit,” said the 40-page government report, entitled “Denmark can do more.”

As of July 1, immigrants and their descendants represent 14.1% of Denmark’s population of nearly 6 million people, according to official figures. The largest groups are from Turkey, Syria and Iraq.


Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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