‘Paradigm shift’ on immigration policy has companies worried

A number of businesses in Denmark have become dependant on a ready supply of foreign labour

On Thursday this week the government is set to unveil its new policy regarding foreign workers in Denmark. The policy has been described as a ‘paradigm shift’, especially with regard to the way refugees are to be treated in future.

However, Danish business interests are not impressed. When the new policy is implemented around 8,700 employees will end up on a list for deportation to their home countries when that becomes possible, reports Mandag Morgen.

Cleaning up
The branches employing the highest numbers of foreigners most affected are the hotel and restaurant sector, cleaning companies and the social and health sectors.

Immigration and integration minister Inger Støjberg agrees that there will be problems, but insists that there are other overriding considerations.

“You have to look at this in a larger perspective. You as a refugee should only be in Denmark as long as there is a need for protection. If you no longer have that and if your life is no longer in danger, then you ought to return home and build up the country you came from,” she said.

A shortage of chambermaids
The hotel branch organisation Horesta is worried about a shortage of labour in future, especially in the light of the fact that hotel capacity in Copenhagen is set to increase by 50 percent over the next couple of years.

The organisation’s administrative director Katia Østergaard points out that “just providing staff for these hotels leaves us short of 3,500 employees, so if we have to do without even more in addition to the ones we are lacking, the situation will become really difficult”.

Not our fault
Støjberg has indicated that the government is willing to help companies recruit more broadly but she points out that there is a big difference in coming to Denmark as a refugee and coming to work.

“It’s no secret that we would like to make it easier for people to come to Denmark to work – by, for example, reducing the earnings threshold for people coming in from outside, but there is just not a majority behind this in Parliament.”