Citizenship waiting times soaring

Venstre and Enhedslisten have called for the justice minister to atone for the sharp rise in waiting times

April 9th, 2013 11:36 am| by admin

Waiting times for people applying for Danish citizenship have surged since the current Socialdemokraterne-led government took over in the autumn of 2011.

While average waiting times for first-time applicants and reopened cases in 2011 was at 47 days and 95 days, respectively, the waiting times had soared to between 420 and 480 days, by early January.

Jan Jørgensen, Venstre’s citizenship spokesperson, called it unacceptable that waiting times for prospective citizens has shot up tenfold over just a year and a half.

“The waiting times have exploded under this government. They were long before, but the previous government managed to bring the waiting times down to reasonable levels,” Jørgensen told Politiken newspaper. “It’s ridiculous that they have to wait so long.”

Far-left wing party Enhedslisten (EL) is also unhappy about the waiting times. The party has called on the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), to explain the long waiting times and offer possible solutions to parliament.

“It’s completely unreasonable, and the government should immediately allocate resources to reduce the waiting times and establish service goals for acceptable waiting times,” EL spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen told Politiken.

In particular, Schmidt-Nielsen pointed to the six-month waiting period that some citizenship applicants encounter between their cases being finished and them legally becoming Danish.

In an email to Jørgensen, Bødskov said that the ministry was “continuously working towards reducing the waiting time”, but Jørgensen doesn't think it is happening fast enough.

“You can discuss how easy or difficult it is to become a Danish citizen. You have to be able to speak the language and know something about the Danish society,” Jørgensen said. “But we also want people to become Danish and think they should be treated properly and have their applications processed quickly.”

The news comes on the heels of the government postponing the replacement of the criticised citizenship test (indfødsretsprøven) with a more modern test (statsborgerskabsprøven).