Denmark proposes making migrants work 37 hours a week to earn benefits

Denmark wants migrants to work 37 hours a week to earn benefits because “there are too many, especially with non-Western backgrounds, who do not have a job.”

Credits: Imago

Migrants in Denmark may have to work 37 hours a week to earn their welfare benefits, as suggested in a recent proposal by the minority Social Democratic government. According to the proposal, migrants who have been on benefits for at least three years would have to find work in order to keep them.

The government claims the new reform is necessary, as many women of foreign descent do not work, especially those with roots in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.

As reported by Daily Mail, the proposal stated:

“If you come to Denmark, you have to work and support yourself and your family. ‘If one cannot support oneself, one must have a duty to participate and contribute what is equivalent to a regular working week to receive the full welfare benefit.”

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says the policy would help migrants integrate into Danish society.

Credits: Jens Dresling

The government plans to start the program with the migrants who can speak some Danish, providing them access to skills they would need to acquire to work.

The Social Democrats still don’t have a majority, but their plan would most likely be supported by center-right politicians.

However, the proposal has been widely criticized and called “foolish” by Mai Villadsen, a member of the opposition Red-Green Alliance. In her opinion, it could lead to downward pressure on the wages of other workers.

In a recent Twitter post, Villadsen wrote:

“Absurd and antisocial unemployment benefit attack from the government. The foundation of our welfare society is a strong safety net.”

Meanwhile, Mirka Mozer, head of the Immigrant Women’s Center, expressed beliefs that the plan was not ambitious enough.

She said:

“We have lots of women who are willing to take jobs, including jobs that are 37 hours (per week), but there need to be more 37-hour jobs.”

Mozed claimed the Immigrant Women’s Center had contacts with many companies offering jobs to immigrant women. Unfortunately, most jobs were only four-to-10 hours per week. She added:

“Some certainly fear that their (welfare) benefits will be reduced because they can’t get a 37-hour job.”

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