New foreign spouse law proposal may be discriminatory, Danish Parliament’s lawyers warn

The controversy over the so-called 26-year exception rule, which governs the circumstances under which Danes are allowed to bring foreign spouses into the country shows no sign of abating

Last week saw a highly-publicised case in which a family – a Danish astro-physicist, his highly-educated American wife and their two children who are Danish citizens – were told that the mother would have to leave the country as their total attachment to another country was greater than that to Denmark.

The case generated quite a lot of adverse publicity for the government.

If you’ve got money, you’re okay
The Ministry of Integration has been working on a proposed new law, which would circumvent this problem and allow highly-paid immigrants to stay.

The law would allow in Danes who have been offered a post here and have a salary of more than 408,000 kroner per year. It would also apply to people having qualifications that are in short supply in Denmark.

Back to square one?
However, the law as proposed might well be illegal, Parliament’s lawyers say.

Socialdemekratiet have received a legal opinion that states “it can’t be ruled out that the law proposal could lead to discrimination,” Politiken reports.

And this discrimination “might be covered by the European Convention on Human Rights”.

The Institute for Human Rights also agrees, as do a number of organisations such as Danes Worldwide.

The institute says that it is “doubtful” that the European Court of Human Rights would find it “a reasonable basis for discrimination because of the citizen being highly-qualified or highly paid labour”.

The ministry does not think that this is discriminatory, and in a mail to Politiken, it said that there is “no talk of a new form of discrimination”.