Stateless immigrants to be granted rights

Immigration Service acknowledges they systematically registered many stateless immigrants as having citizenship, depriving them of their rights under UN conventions

The Immigration Service has started sending out letters to a range of stateless immigrants from Syria, Bhutan and Burma who have been incorrectly registered as having a citizenship.

The letters will inform them of their right to be correctly registered as stateless and will contain an application form that can be filled out and returned to the Immigration Service.

The Immigration Service will then assess whether the individual can be judged to be stateless under the UN conventions for stateless people. All applications are expected to be handled within three months.

The change in status from holding a citizenship to being stateless will afford the individual greater rights in Denmark and will confer the automatic right to Danish citizenship to their children.

Information newspaper uncovered the existence of this group of incorrectly-registered individuals this summer after revealing how the Immigration Service had illegally turned down applications for Danish citizenship from stateless Palestinians residing in Denmark.

The move to offer a change of status was made after consulting with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (IMR), which helped draft the application form.

“We have had a notably successful co-operation with the Immigration Service after the press took up the case,” Eva Ersbøll from IMR told Information. “The service has been very open to our suggestions and now the final details are falling into place.”

According to Ersbøll, the incorrect registration of stateless Kurds from Syria was due to a “systematic error” stemming from differing understandings of the term ‘nationality’ by the police and the Immigration Service.

When filling out identity forms, the police wrote their country of origin as their nationality, unaware of the fact that an immigrant is not necessarily a citizen of the country from which they came.