One of the biggest bones of contention when it comes to immigrants – and especially those from non-western backgrounds – is their perceived cost to society.
New figures from Denmark’s Finance Ministry published in Avisen Danmark should give cause for optimism, as they reveal that this amount has fallen by 5 billion kroner between 2015 and 2016.
The figures from 2016 are the most recent as it takes time to compile the statistics.
Jobs for the boys (and girls)
The main reason for this development seems to be that more non-western immigrants have been able to get jobs.
“What is positive and new here is that things are going the right way. We’ve broken the cycle for non-western immigrants and we can see that western immigrants are an extra plus,” said the finance minister, Kristian Jensen.
The figures include both immigrants and their descendants and the report has been compiled from around 719,000 people’s data in the form of the income from their taxes compared to how much it costs the state in expenditure in benefits, education, health costs and judicial expenses.
A number of Danish municipalities are also making extra efforts to attract workers from eastern Europe, not just to come and work but to settle with their families.
This applies especially to municipalities outside the big cities, who have seen shrinking populations as young people move away to pursue educational opportunities and don’t come back, leading to many villages and small towns dying on their feet.
Statistics from jobindsats.dk reveal that over the last four years the number of people from other EU countries outside the Nordics living and working in Denmark has risen from 99,809 to 139,854.
A good example is Kvali Slib, a metal works in Vejen Municipality in Jutland, where 11 out of the 14 employees are from Poland, DR Nyheder reports.
Revitalising local communities
At present, most of them commute backwards and forwards as their families are still in Poland. The company – and the local mayor – would like to see more of the workers choosing to settle in Denmark.
“We’d like to see institutions like our kindergartens and schools fill up so we don’t have to keep making cuts. We’d rather see the wheels of commerce turning nicely,” said the local mayor, Egon Fræhr.
The municipality has launched a campaign involving brochures in both Polish and Romanian to assist non-Danish speakers in finding information on getting a bank account, CPR national insurance number and Danish courses.
Frederikshavn Municipality has gone a step further and employed a special relocation consultant who can answer questions on things like school and daycare possibilities, dealing with the authorities and the Danish language.