Pensioners choosing to spend their golden years outside of Denmark
It is becoming more and more popular for older immigrants and refugees to return to their native countries to live out the last part of their lives. Figures from the Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp) show that nearly twice as many older immigrants returned home in 2011 than in 2010.
Although the numbers are still relatively small – just 370 in 2010 and 613 in 2011 – they seem to indicate a desire among people to spend their final years in their homeland.
The largest groups heading home are elderly Bosnians, Turks and Serbs.
“They say that they want to grow old at home, where they have family and feel less lonely,” Vagn Larsen of Dansk Flygtningehjælp told Kristeligt Dagblad, adding that most have some form of pension. “They are afraid of dying in Denmark or having to move into a nursing home.”
Part of the growing interest in returning home in 2011 was due to a rise in the amount of support given to those that do head back. The state gives over 120,000 kroner to an immigrant or refugee that wants to retire in their home country. In some cases, their health insurance is covered for the first year and they can receive part of whatever pension they may have earned in Denmark.
Still, Larsen said, leaving is not an easy decision.
“It is a very big decision to permanently return to one’s home country,” said Larsen. “A refugee can return to Denmark within one year, but immigrants have no right to return. Once they leave, they lose all of their rights in Denmark.”