Denmark’s asylum rules might be reprimandable, but its recognition rate is robust

In our second of two pieces examining how unwelcoming Denmark is to refugees and migrants, we assess the all-important recognition rate

From the adverts in Lebanese newspapers in September 2015 warning them Denmark is a bad country to apply for asylum in, to the controversial clause in the new Asylum Bill that enables the authorities to confiscate their jewellery, Denmark currently has a bad reputation in the area of asylum.

READ MORE: Is Denmark as unwelcoming to refugees as the media and the government would have us believe?

But compared to its neighbours Sweden, Norway and Germany, there is one area in which Denmark leads the way: its asylum recognition rate.

However, it is often overlooked – by the media, the public and the asylum-seekers themselves.

A high recognition rate
The recognition rate is the percentage of positive decisions taken during the asylum process, and Denmark’s is very high (see factbox below).

In all three countries, recognition rates differ depending on the nationality of the refugee or immigrant.

Refugees from Iraq are twice as likely to receive a permit to stay in Germany as they are in Denmark. When it comes to Syrians and Eritreans, all three countries have a relatively high recognition rate. However, the countries do not grant the same protection status to refugees.

In Denmark, Syrians have a 70 percent chance of receiving convention status, which is the strongest form of protection. This gives the refugees more rights and a safer residence. In Sweden, Syrians only have a 10 percent chance of receiving convention status.

Not often considered
The protection status is not something refugees consider when they choose a country, according to Michala Clante Bendixen, the head of the Danish organisation Refugees Welcome.

“Most people, not even Danes, know what convention status is,” she told the Copenhagen Post.

“It requires a lot of technical insight. Therefore, it is not of importance to the refugees. They are more interested in whether they can get permanent residence or not.”

Difficult to compare countries
Recognition rates and protection status are just some of the relevant factors which differ from country to country.

For example, in contrast to Germany and Denmark, refugees in Sweden are allowed to live in private homes during the asylum period. On the other hand, refugees in Denmark are given a higher amount of pocket money.

Moreover, Denmark and Sweden have spent a larger share of their GDP on refugees than many of the other EU countries, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Difficult to compare
According to Zachary Whyte, an asylum and integration researcher at the University of Copenhagen, these many different factors make it difficult to point out which country is the most refugee-friendly.

“It is very complex. How do you measure the amount of pocket money in relation to how early a refugee can get government-funded legal assistance?” he asked.

“There are so many important details that it is difficult to compare the countries.”

Due to the increasing number of refugees, Denmark and its neighbouring countries are constantly changing their policies towards refugees and immigrants.

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