Hope you all enjoyed a Merry Christmas, had a cracking New Year’s Eve and are in store for a 2013 that will bring you all the happiness that you deserve.
Now that the gluttony and schnapps-fuelled hangover has at last dissipated (I swear I’ll move to Saudi Arabia if I get one more whiff of flæskesteg), let’s dispense with the pleasantries and dive into the crux of it. And once again the Immigration Service will bear the brunt. Yes readers, here comes another tired, yet necessary lambasting.
To earn the right to live in Denmark, foreigners have to go through a gruelling process. There are numerous types of visas and permits that one can apply for, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s keep this to those who apply for a work permit under the green card scheme – a basic residence permit for the purpose of seeking work in Denmark.
To qualify, applicants must accumulate at least 100 points that are given according to their educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability and age. That’s fair enough. While immigration laws are some of the most stringent in Europe, Denmark needs skilled workers who can contribute, not leeches. Applicants over the age of 25 also have to document that they can support themselves for their first year in Denmark while looking for work, during which time they may not receive any public assistance. That’s fine too, although the roughly 70,000 kroner that a single person must have won’t come close to lasting a year in Copenhagen, especially with one-room student flats costing 5,000 kroner a month.
Then there are language courses, which are meant to convey the person’s willingness to adapt and integrate into Danish society. This is fine too; if you’re looking to settle down in Denmark the least you can do is learn the language. Basically, it’s not easy getting into Denmark. You’ve got to earn it and that, in my opinion, is perfectly acceptable.
But shouldn’t Denmark have to earn the right and respect of the people looking to live here? I cringe when I see the inept debacle they call Immigration Service. The word ‘service’ is used as loosely as I’ve ever seen.
Upon visiting Immigration Service, applicants are greeted with the sight of hundreds of people waiting in line to be seen by a woefully undermanned staff who are painstakingly slow and have to deal with immigration laws that change more often than Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends. Often one can’t get a straight answer from anyone, and the bureaucracy is so rife that a single case can pass through so many hands that a response can take years.
But it’s not really the fault of the people working there. I can imagine it can be overwhelming when the desperate hordes converge on their offices every morning. Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her pals need to propose a new fat tax, a shawarma tax or whatever other tax they can dream up, and use that money to hire some more case workers ASAP! People bloody well deserve knowing their fate in less than a year.
And what is it with bunching everyone into one group, regardless of background? I know it’s not in line with the jantelov, but all cases are not equal. Not every person coming to Denmark should have to assimilate and integrate. Many workers come only temporarily before moving on to somewhere else so why should they have to learn to say ‘rødgrød med fløde’? This isn’t the 1980s, the world has changed and it’s time to embrace that.
Do the people who come to Denmark ready, willing and able to contribute really deserve the disgraceful treatment they currently receive? Does the government really think that Denmark is such a brilliant place that highly-skilled foreigners will stay and endure such indignity when other countries are lining up to welcome them with open arms?
So, Denmark, if you want highly-skilled professionals to help you remain globally relevant and competitive, you better start earning it in 2013, because until you do, people will continue to leave your shores in search of places more welcoming and respectful to their foreigners. All the hygge and bicycle lanes in the world won’t change that.