Local Round Up: Au pairs used primarily as cleaners

Police investigation and government report concur that most are Filipinos here for economic purposes

North Zealand Police has confirmed that a number of families from the area face heavy fines for hiring au pairs to primarily clean their homes.

With the help of the Fagbladet 3F trade union, the police force has been investigating 84 families who have allegedly hired au pairs – mostly female Filipinos – to carry out cleaning work without the necessary work or residence permits.

In some cases, the women have been living ‘underground’ in Denmark for five years, during which time they have expanded the number of their clients – typically to encompass 10-15 homes, charging 100-120 kroner an hour.

Few learn Danish
In related news, the Immigration and Integration Ministry recently released the results of its evaluation of the au-pair scheme, which it began in 2015. And sadly it chimes with the police investigation.

Ideally au pairs should gain an insight into Danish culture, but in reality 40 percent do not bother learning Danish – often because the host families insist on English being spoken at home. Most au pairs come to Denmark for economic reasons, the study found, while most families hire them for help with their domestic chores.

Au pair numbers are in freefall, halving from 2,118 in 2008 to 1,007 in 2018, of which 818 come from the Philippines. None are from western Europe.

Girl power kicks off Metro extension
Work has begun on the Sydhavn section of the M4, an extension of the latest Copenhagen Metro line – which is due to open on an unconfirmed date this spring and take passengers from the city centre to Nordhavn – through five stations heading south.

Two heavy tunnel boring machines were last week placed in a large hole 30 metres underground in Sydhavn, and some 4.5 km of drilling lies in wait ahead of the anticipated opening of the extension in 2024.

Female names
As is traditional across the world, the machines have been given feminine names. ‘Inge Lehmann’ and ‘Olivia Nielsen’ were chosen from a list of 500 submissions.
The former was a geophysicist and the latter was a trade unionist.

Blow for commuters
In related news, Metroselskabet has closed down the M3 Cityringen until Monday January 27 to enable safe testing of the M4 line to Nordhavn – bad news for the thousands who have quickly grown to depend on it.

Additional buses will be laid on to transport Copenhageners between the stations, with at least one service every four minutes during rush hour.

Wi-Fi switched off
DSB switched off the Wi-Fi on the S-train at the end of the year due to low usage.

It was being used by around 0.3 percent of the customers. In other travel news, Øresund commuter travelcard sales increased by 5.7 percent between December 2018 and November 2019, according to Skånetrafiken.

T-rex debut
Visitors to Statens Naturhistoriske Museum will from April be able to view a skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex – the first time one has ever been displayed in Denmark. The 3.4 metre-high, 12 metre-long, black-coloured, Danish-owned T-rex was discovered in Montana in 2010. Some 170 of its 300 fossilised bones are original.

New bridge
Copenhagen Municipality is establishing a new 42 million kroner bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Folehaven to provide safer passage between Vigerslevvej and Sønderkær out in Valby. Folehavebroen, which will open this spring, will be 5.5 metres wide and 137 metres long.

Street light boost
Copenhagen Municipality will soon revert back to controlling its 48,000 street lights via twilight switches. An upgrade to LEG lights a few years ago made many switches incompatible.

Nice for Nimb
US travel magazine Condé Nast Travelers has included Hotel Nimb at Tivoli on its list of the ‘The best hotels and resorts in the world’.

Drone case appealed
Following convictions ranging from 30 to 48 months, the long-running drone case is heading to the High Court. In related news, prosecutors have called for the strictest possible punishment for the two men who have pleaded guilty to killing reformed gang member Nedim Yasar.

Ammonia attack
A 44-year-old man was detained for punching a train inspector and throwing ammonia solution at passengers on an S-train in late December. Ammonia can cause severe burns and eye damage, or can even be fatal. The man has since been taken to a psychiatric ward.

Scaffolding suspicions
Copenhagen Police suspects a scaffold on Scandiagade in southwest Copenhagen may have been deliberately overturned on December 29. Nobody was injured.

Killed for cards
The charge sheet of a suspected serial killer, a 27-year-old man accused of murdering three elderly people in Østerbro in February and March 2019 and stealing their cash cards, confirms he failed to withdraw money near the crime scenes, but then made purchases at a cinema and strip bar.

First avocado cafe
Avobaren, the country’s first dedicated avocado cafe, has opened at Falkoner Alle 38 in Frederiksberg. As well as being vegetarian and vegan, its range is gluten and lactose-free.