News in Digest: Warier of hackers than refugees – apparently
The Danish defence intelligence service, Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE), has once again identified what it considers to be the biggest risks facing Denmark.
And unsurprisingly, asylum-seekers were low down its list, although you wouldn’t know that judging by the government’s rhetoric over the Christmas break.
An economic burden
Cyberattacks are the biggest threat facing the country, warns FE in a ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’ kind of fashion.
Russia and terror run the hackers a close second – particularly “a new generation of militant Islamists who can join transatlantic networks”.
Government party Venstre would appear to be more wary of asylum-seekers, who its immigration spokesperson Marcus Knuth has described as “an economic burden for Denmark” and best off returning to their home country once it is deemed safe.
Knuth backs Dansk Folkeparti’s call for new rules in return for supporting the government’s budget, which propose deportation regardless of whether the asylum-seekers have a job or have integrated.
Additionally, Knuth would like to see them denied family reunification and language lessons.
Probable worker shortage
However, Dansk Industri contends that the new rules would create shortages in the job market as the refugees are making up for a decline in the number of people coming in from eastern Europe.
DI predicts that every fifth person in Denmark between the ages of 20 and 69 will either be an immigrant or the child of an immigrant by 2030 – a total of 720,000 people, which is 160,000 more than today.
“It is absolutely vital that we as a society make a great effort to integrate them better into the workforce,” said DI’s deputy head Steen Nielsen.
It is a view shared by Morten Goll, the co-founder and executive director of the innovative community centre Trampolinhuset, who recently shared his thoughts – see cphpost.dk for the full interview.
“Some politicians have a fear that if we have too many refugees, society will break down because they think that is it the refugees that destroy society,” he told CPH Post. “I am saying that it is the misinterpretation of democracy that destroys society.”
Asylum rate in freefall
Asylum-seeker numbers are in freefall as the approval rate plummeted last year, and increasing numbers are leaving to move to Germany and Sweden.
According to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, 1,455 asylum-seekers rejected from Denmark moved illegally to Germany from January to October 2017. The border checks do not stop people moving south.
Last year, just under 3,500 people applied for asylum in Denmark – the lowest number registered since 2008, when about 2,400 applied.
Thanks to the efforts of the immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, the government has passed 67 laws since 2015 aimed at making it more difficult for refugees to settle in Denmark.
“There is little doubt that our tough immigration course has become well known outside our borders, and that was precisely the effect I was looking for,” said Støjberg.
Some asylum-seekers are even converting to Christianity to improve their chances. A total of 169 converted in 2017 – a rise of around 200 percent on figures for 2014-16.
And it would appear to be a successful course of action, as 73 of the 169 seekers were granted a residence permit – a 43 percent strike rate, which is far higher than the national average of 26 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2017.
Some of the conversions are rejected asylum-seekers ahead of making another application, and it is believed the practice is particularly common among Iranians.
Nevertheless, the number of mosques in Denmark continues to rise. There are now 170 following the addition of 55 in the last 12 years, according to the Mosques in Denmark report. And Danish is increasingly being used in sermons.