Perhaps going against the grain in Denmark, the Bornholm Regional Council has informed the government that it is ready and willing to accept more refugees.
Next year Denmark will redistribute 600 refugees among all municipalities and Bornholm is expected to receive none, despite local authorities claiming that the island was in a position to accept 20.
Refugees are distributed by the Ministry of Integration, but the municipalities can offer to take over quotas from other municipalities.
A resource, not a burden
Bornholm has consistently been able to integrate refugees into its labour market and has the second-highest employment rate for refugee families in Denmark.
At the moment, 318 out of 471 refugees and individuals who have entered Denmark via family reunification are employed – second to Læsø, which only has two refugees.
“We have growing companies and are good at getting refugees out into the labor market, so we thought we could help solve a national problem,” said Bornholm Municipality mayor Winni Grosbøll, according to DR Nyheder.
Another issue is that Bornholm’s population has been declining in recent years, from 42,563 people in 2009, to 39,572 this year. The island aims to rejuvenate those figures back to 2009 levels by 2028.
“The refugees help us produce what we need. Back in 2016 and 2017, we were in desperate need of more hands,” Peter Kofoed Nielsen, the factory manager at Danish Crown slaughterhouse, which employs 16 refugees out of a staff of around 200 in Rønne, told DR Nyheder.
“Both the municipality and the company are very open to refugees. The shortage of labour has prompted Bornholm to regard refugees as a resource rather than a burden,” municipality’s labour market manager, Allan Westh, told DR Nyheder.