Immigrants receiving social benefits in Denmark will henceforth have an obligation to work, according to a new agreement in the Folketing (Danish Parliament).
Foreigners who receive social benefits will need to work at least 37 hours per week unless they meet the requirements of having either resided in Denmark for nine out of the past ten years or have had full-time employment for 2.5 out of the past ten years. The agreement was reached by the Danish government in collaboration with the parties Denmark’s Democrats and the Danish People’s Party.
– We want to send a very clear signal that when you come to Denmark, we expect something from you, and you must work if you can, said Labor Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen at a press conference, according to the state channel DR.
Individuals will be dispatched to so-called “utility jobs,” which will be the responsibility of the municipalities to manage. For example, tasks might include picking up trash or helping make sandwiches in nursing homes.
Focus on immigrant women
Women of different ethnic backgrounds are notably overrepresented in the social benefits system today and are thus highlighted as a particular target group for the new work obligation.
– It’s not good for an individual to be on passive support without any expectations of him or her. We are dealing with a group that is overrepresented in the social benefits system, and therefore we want to make an extra effort, says the Labor Minister.
However, these utility jobs must not be tasks already performed by municipal employees; other tasks must be found.
– It’s up to the municipalities themselves to look beyond their own areas and see which tasks are not being addressed today, says Halsboe-Jørgensen.