Nawaz Lost job due to corona last year! Now he will get a 3rd rejection letter from Danish immigration due to new work requirement for citizenship applied retroactively

Studies have found that Denmark immigrations laws change on average every 3 months in last 15 years. Nawaz Ahmed and his family are one who has been victim every time.

Denmark has now for years been one of the most strict countries for highly skilled professionals and immigrants due to its ever changing and tough immigration policies. According to a 2017 Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science assessment, 80 percent of foreign graduates from Danish universities leave Denmark within two years of their graduation. There are some who stay and challenge the system. They include spouses of Danes, green card holders and researchers. Despite meeting all requirements they face the ever changing rules. The recent study by a law professor at Aarhus University found that Denmark’s immigration laws have changed 68 times in last 15 years. This translates to a change in immigration laws every three months. These changes are then applied retroactively which means that applicants are told about the change in the rules after they submit their application .

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Ahmed Nawaz (fictitious name) has a similar story. Nawaz is a software engineer. He came to Sweden in 2007 where he completed his Master degree in Software engineering in 2009. Those were the beginning years when Denmark had announced green card scheme. He easily got his Danish green card in 2010 and came to Denmark in 2011. When I came to Denmark, I had a plan says Ahmed. I planned to first make some savings and start a family life here in Denmark and invite my spouse and kids. At the same I also planned to focus on learning Danish language. Everything was going smoothly until immigrations laws start changing constantly. I got trapped in these laws changes and their retroactive implementation, says Nawaz. If I got rejected this time for my citizenship application it will be my third time getting rejection letter due to changes in rules with retroactive effects.

The June 2015 Danish general elections resulted in a overwhelming victory for far right parties and a large number of seats were won by right wing Danish People Party (Danske Folkeparti DF) for the first time in history. This promptly turn into tightening of immigration rules as DF came with one and only agenda to tighten the immigration laws. Little did Nawaz knew that these general elections and the far right victory will make his life miserable in the coming years.

Rejection of Permanent Residency application in 2015

After living 5 years in Denmark and meeting all requirements, I applied for permanent residency on December 15, 2015 and paid a fee of DKK 5400 says Nawaz. I was focused on my job and family life. I thought I will receive permanent residency permit in few months after which I will not be worried about visa extension and kicking out of Denmark after losing job. But the troubles were about to start says Nawaz.

At the end of January, 2016 bill L87 was passed from the parliament which tighten the permanent residency rules. These rules made it compulsory for applicants to have lived for 6 years before they can be eligible to apply for permanent residency. It was 5 year of stay before this bill was passed. Though the bill was passed on January 26, 2016 but it was retroactively applied on all applications submitted after 10th of December 2015, the date when the bill was presented in the parliament for the first time. This covered Nawaz application and after few weeks he received a rejection letter from immigration office stating that his stay in Denmark has not been 6 years therefore, his permanent residency application is rejected. I felt betrayed as my application was not only turned down due to retroactive enforcement of rules but also I did not get back my DKK 5400 which I paid for my application, Nawaz says. I continued my life and thought to apply in one year for permanent residency.

Residency requirement raised to 8 years in 2017

In March 2017, once again a new bill L154 was presented to the parliament to tighten the permanent residency requirements. These new rules raised the residency requirements from 6 years to 8 years. When I was about to apply for permanent residency again in March 2017, I was again told that now the residency requirement has raised to 8 years so I have to wait for another 2 years before I can be eligible to apply. This was another shock for me says Nawaz. As my kids were going to schools and they felt integrated in Denmark so I again committed myself to continue my life and apply for permanent residency in 2 years for the sake of a better and certain future of my kids.

Read More: Denmark is locking every door to immigrants

Rejection of Permanent Residency application in 2018

The residency requirement for permanent residency are counted from the time of ones CPR registration in Denmark or from the time of ones first visa application submission date in case one has submitted application in side Denmark. As Nawaz submitted his first green card application in Denmark in October 2010 so his residency years should have been counted from then. But he got rejection of his 2nd Permanent residency application in early 2019. The reason immigration office has stated is that he had stayed longer out side of Denmark in the beginning which has reduced his number of years of stay in Denmark. This time again he paid a fee of over DKK 6000 but did not get a refund after rejection.

Permanent Residency in 2019

After getting his second rejection letter for his permanent residency application, he then again applied in 2019 and got his permanent residency in October 2019 after 8 and half years of stay in Denmark. Nawaz says, I finally made it to permanent residency despite a long process and number of rejections due to changing rules and their retroactive implementation.

Citizenship Application in 2020

In June 2020, Ahmed submitted his Danish citizenship application after meeting every requirement and residing in Denmark for over 9 years. He lost his job due to corona lockdown in March 2020. Due to extended corona lockdown he could not find a job so he started a web development course at Next Copenhagen to enhance his knowledge and increase his career opportunities. He is still few months into completing the course and he is hopeful to start a new job soon.

Read more: Denmark’s new citizenship requirements are discriminatory and racist

New citizenship rules and their retroactive implementation.

When the Danish Social Democrats took over the office in 2019, it was thought, it might be the beginning of a normal life but it started to get even worse. On April 20, 2021, Minister of Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye along with Venstre, Liberal Alliance and Conservative party spokespersons through a press conference, announced new and tighten citizenship laws. Human Rights organisations and experts called them unreasonable, discriminatory and racists. Among other new requirements, three and half years full time work in last four years is one. The worse part is again the retroactive implementation of these new rules on all applications submitted after 10th April, 2020.

Read more: Institut for Menneskerettigheder: Statsborgerskabsregler strider mod retsstatsprincipper

Probable rejection of Citizenship application in 2021

The new citizenship rules include employment requirement. It is due to this requirement and its retroactive implementation that Nawaz thinks he will get another rejection letter from Danish immigration. I am devastated to hear about these new rules and their retroactive implementations, says Nawaz. It is like running on a treadmill which never ends anywhere. I am still studying web development course after which I will probably get a job and then I have to work 3 and half years to be eligible to apply for citizenship. This means that I will probably get Danish citizenship in 2026 instead of 2022 that also if I did not get sick or do not lose my job again or rules are not changed again says Nawaz.

Read more: ‘Dictatorial to impose new citizenship laws on those who have already applied’

Nawaz is living with his wife and two children at the outskirt of Copenhagen. His kids are now going to school. Elder is in 8th standard while the younger is in 6th. Nawaz says, I am not only worried about my future in Denmark but my kids. Though they are well integrated but I am afraid, what has been happening to me over the last one decade might happen to my children one day. This makes me feel scare about my children’s future.

Nawaz along hundreds of others who are in similar situation after the new citizenship rules are announced, believe that a fair and moral way of implementing these rules especially the employment requirement would be to apply the new rules 3 years from now i.e. from 10th May 2024 rather applying retroactively from 10th April, 2020. This will allow everyone to fulfil the requirements mentioned in the ministry circular. It will save Nawaz from getting his 3rd rejection letter from Danish immigration due to changes in rules and their retroactive implementation despite meeting all requirements when submitting application.

  • Naqeeb Khan is a research graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland and resides in Denmark. He is president of Green Human Resources and an executive member with the Danish Green Card Association (DGCA). He can be contacted via email.

An open letter to Danish Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye; It will be a dictatorial directive to implement new citizenship laws on those who have already applied a year ago

Minister of Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye (S) expects that fewer people will get citizenship after a new agreement tightens access to Danish citizenship. Photo: Emil Helms / Ritzau Scanpix

Dear Mattias Tesfaye,

Every human being has the right to a fair and free chance to survive and grow. These rights are not only guaranteed in the Danish constitution but recognised by UN Human Rights Conventions and EU directives. Over the last few years various Danish governments has been breaching the equal opportunity rights of immigrants thus violating the fundamentals of Danish values and its constitution.

The constant implementation of laws retroactively and asking immigrants to meet the requirements in an earlier time in the past makes it more like a dictatorial directives rather any democratic norm. Unfortunately your signed circular CIS nr 9298 af 06/05/2021 dated 6th May 2021 regarding new Danish citizenship rules are also violating the basics of UN human rights conventions, EU directives and the Danish democratic norms. It proposes to implement the new Danish citizenship law on all those who have applied after 10 April 2020 which is 13 months prior to the date of agreement over on the law.

Read more: Circular letter on Danish Naturalisation

Though, I consider the new proposed rules illogical, discriminatory and unfair but its implementation on the already submitted applications make it unjustified and probably illegal. It violates the basic right of a person to have a fair chance to meet the set requirements. I recommend following points to be reconsidered in the new proposed and circulated rules and urge to change its implementation plan.

  • Residency Requirement:

I believe that the residency requirement for citizenship applicants is unjustified. The current residency requirement for citizenship is already one of the highest in Europe i.e. 9 years but this new residency requirement will make it over 11 years. It is because the new residency requirements ask applicants to hold Permanent residency for at least 2 years before the citizenship application is processed and it takes almost 9 years to obtain permanent residency in Denmark. This requirement will also make hurdles for young people who are born and raised here as they will also need to wait for 2 years after getting Permanent residency when they turn 18.

  • Work Requirement:

Majority of the immigrants are working full time but many of them also leave jobs for a while to join various professional courses and/or university degrees to strengthen their skills and knowledge especially after getting Permanent Residency. During this period they either take dagepenge (A-kasse, an allowance through a paid Union), supplementary dagepenge (working part time while taking part of the dagepenge A-kasse) or use their savings for a time being for their brighter future. The work requirement will force many to remain stagnant at one position without any training and development as they will need to show full time work for citizenship application. It will also in near future force many to stop their dagepenge (A-kasse) subscriptions as it will be of no use if one cannot avail for at least first 10 years of their stay in Denmark. It will surely have adverse impact on the economy of many employment Union firms. This requirement will also force many to leave their university education or never start one rather keep working unskilled jobs or remain in the same position which will ultimately impact Danish labor market.

i). COVID-19: Imposing Work requirement at a time when thousands of people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will make it impossible for many to fulfil this requirement. During 2020 many people lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 economic lockdown so requiring immigrants to show full time work for last 3 and half years during this pandemic will be unfair. 

  • Implementation of the rules:

The shocking part of these new rules is the implementation date. You have announced that these new rules will be applied retroactively from April 10, 2020. It is almost 13 months prior to the agreement between the parties on new citizenship rules. It might make the new rules illegal as the court review might declare it illegal to apply rules on those who have already submitted their application a year ago after fulfilling all the requirements of the time.

Read more: OPINION: Denmark’s new citizenship requirements are discriminatory and racist


Considering Denmark a democratic country, I would like to recommend the following more logical and fair alternatives for the above mentioned concerns.

  1. I urge that residency requirements of holding Permanent residency for 2 years before the process of citizenship application is unnecessary. I would recommend to drop this requirement as it only contribute to further hurdles in the integration of immigrants as they will be unnecessarily delayed from getting Danish citizenship which give them the right to vote and a sense of identity in the Danish society.
  2. I would urge the following recommendations for the work requirement clause of the new circulated rules.
    1. Firstly, I recommend to abolish the work requirement for citizenship applications. It is because an applicant of Danish citizenship has already shown full time work for up to 4 years while getting permanent residency. Thus requiring 3 and half years full time work in last 4 years for citizenship application is unnecessary and contribute to an unskilled labor force. It will only make the probable new Danes stagnant at the same position as they will have to continue working in the same job without training and development which in many cases is only possible to either start studying full time or go for various courses which takes years.
    2. One of the reasons to abolish the work requirement is COVID-19. Thousands of people lost their jobs during this pandemic which has made it impossible to show 3 and half years full time work in last 4 years. Thus it will take years before many could meet this requirement.
    3. In continuation to 2.a and 2.b, I would recommend to consider dagepenge (A-kasse) as an applicable source of regular full time work. It is because dagepenge itself require a person to fulfil certain requirement which include full time work in last 1 year. This will help the probable new Dane to not only continue their development by taking various courses and university degrees but it will also help various employment Union firms to have higher subscriptions. It will also add a more skilled labor force into Danish labor market.
  3. I believe that the implantation plan described in the 6th May 2021 ministry circular will make the new rules illegal as they are prescribed to be applied retroactively from 10th April, 2020. I believe that;
    1. If the government would like to give a fair chance to each applicant so it will apply the new rules 3 years from now i.e. from 10th May 2024. This will allow everyone to fulfil the requirements mentioned in the circular.
    2. If the government would like to be unfair but still in one way justifiable so it will apply the new rules from either 10th May 2021 or from 20th April 2021 on which date the agreement was signed between the parties.
    3. I believe if the government apply the new rules from 10th April 2020 which the circular has also mentioned, it might make it illegal as it probably violates various human rights laws including the Danish constitution.

I believe that a more suitable way of implementation of new rules would be to apply from the date of signing the agreement which is 20th April, 2021. It will mean that all those who have already applied, their applications will be processed on the basis the old rules. This will also mean that ministry will not be responsible to pay back probably over a million Danish Krone as a return fee. It is because each applicant who has applied from 10th April 2020 has paid a fee of 3800 DKK and their are thousands who will be effected by these new set of rules and thus ministry will be responsible to pay back their fees.

I would be pleased if you consider these recommendations and make changes to the new rules accordingly. I am open to any further discussion or meeting that be virtual or face to face regarding the new rules and my recommendations.

I will be eager to read your response to my letter.

Best Regards 

Naqeeb Khan

Naqeeb Khan is a research graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland and resides in Denmark. He is president of Green Human Resources and an executive member with the Danish Green Card Association (DGCA). He can be contacted via email.

Anyone who needs to be fired should be Director himself not a mere acting supervisor! May 1st Speech

It’s time to stand United against the mistreatment and torture of workers here in Denmark and around the world. May 1 March organised by Revolutionary Socialists in Copenhagen Denmark. Photo: Hamid Khan

May 1st Day speech at a demonstration called to show solidarity with workers.

Ladies and gentlemen 

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and joyful Labor Day. I would also like to thank Revolutionary socialist for arranging the march and giving me the opportunity to bring forward the torture and violations of workers’ rights by Nemlig management.

Today’s labor day March is at a time when we see an uprising of workers and oppressed nations around the world. Though it has always been the tactics of oppressors who have either built their ego over their wealth and/or military power to disperse workers and oppressed people, but they have always failed ultimately. 

Today again workers have come forward in one or the other way to express their grievances especially in recent months in Denmark the brave Nemlig workers who have exposed the arrogant Nemlig CEO and senior management

Read more: tæller sekunder. De langsomme på lageret bliver fyret

For the last few years I have been very close to Nemlig employees who have suffered a lot. I have been hearing their stories almost every week as how They’re tortured, mistreated and fired without any reason. I would like to draw your attention to the following facts which will let you know how deteriorating the situation is in I have only focused on warehouse workers not drivers or sub-contractors and here are some facts.

1. Temporary Contracts (TKVs) 
Temporary workers are hired on part time contracts with 15 hours per week. These workers and then pressed to work fast in a bit to get more hours and a permanent contract. These temporary workers work full time for months but they are not given permanent contracts and usually are fired with zero day notice. One girl has been fired after she worked for Nemlig for over 8 months and she said her performance was also in green that is how Nemlig has divided workers according to their performance in Green, Yellow and Red. She did cry in front of the supervisor but she was fired on spot with zero day notice.

2. Breaks: On average each packer takes around 20,000 steps each day while they are packing and pushing around 50 kg trolly filled with products. Work normally starts at 6 am and the only and first break is at 10 am after 4 hour of running, picking products and packing them. During this time they have to maintain their high performance i.e. picking a product within 9-14 second. If anyone is required to visit the toilet or washroom their time does not stop. Many usually drop their visit to the toilet just to keep their performance which results in various psychological and medical problems for them.

Read more: under ekstremt pres:Har ni sekunder til at finde en vare

3. Military Managers and military like situation: Each of the senior operation managers is an ex-military officer who is especially hired to look after packers performance. Jonas Rolandsen the logistic director posted on his Facebook on 4th of April 2020 that he wants 2-3 army officers to look after the performance of employees. These military officers shout at employees and proudly say that we are hired because we don’t listen to others but just to give orders. There are Senior Managers, managers, supervisors, vice supervisors, performance managers and supervisors all looking after packers to make them run and pack. There are painkillers tablets with each supervisor who give to packers if they feel pain after an incident or just normally instead of telling them to go home and rest or to the doctor. One army officer sent an email to one of the employees that I have been working for 17 years in the army but never have been sick so why are you sick. That is how the situation is in Nemlig.

The Logistic Director of Nemlig Jonas Rolandsen facebook post calling for former sergeants or senior sergeants for a performance team at Photo: 3F

4. Performance Management Teams: There are separate performance measurement supervisors with their iPod who call employees after each round if their performance is slow. In case they keep working slow they are thereafter fired. These supervisors’ job is to be on the shoulders of packers to keep them running.

5. Injuries at work: Injuries at work are mostly not recorded. The packers are told to either continue work or leave. In some severe cases employees are paid for their injuries while other incidents are ignored. Most of the employees have back pain especially packers at cool areas where temperature is 2-5 and at frost areas where temperature is -20.

6. Covid-19: During this pandemic employees were told to continue their work despite having a positive COVID test. Last summer when the Corona crisis was at peak, one employee got positive and the next day he was at work because he was not feeling any symptoms. The packers protested and thereafter that employee was sent home.

7. Firing employees: Each month a couple of employees are fired. Even if you have a guarantee of a month or three month notice in your contract, they will fire you if you ask them something or demand your basic right by blaming your behaviour. After these reports last week one vice supervisor was fired. I don’t blame the vice supervisor who just obeyed the orders. I would say if anybody is to be fired, it should be the Director himself or the Logistic Director who proudly calls for military officers for jobs at nemlig and looking after packers performance.

Read more: Nemlig loses green smiley

To sum up, I would say that this torture, misbehavior, psychological pressure and painful experience must stop. I would recommend,

1.     Full time contract for any employee who has been working full time hours for three months.

2.     Paid 15 minutes break for warehouse workers after every 2 hours.

3.     All the military officers hired with an intention of making Nemlig warehouse their military barracks or those who are behaving like military officers should be fired and sent to their barracks or home.

4.     Employees should be treated as human beings not machines. Performance measures should be realistic and they should not be overlooked and definitely not when they are going to the toilet.

5.     Safety first must be observed. Any injury or about to be an injury must be recorded. Those injured whether on part time contract or full time contract should be compensated.

6.     All the COVID-19 SOP guidelines by the authorities should be followed.

7.     Firing employees without any reason just for their ego must stop. Firing supervisors just to calm down the current situation is not enough. If anyone has to be fired, that should be the Director himself or Jonas Rolandsen who calls for military officers to join Nemlig to measure performance.

I would request the organizers of today’s march to include these points in today’s demonstration resolutions.

Thank you wish everyone a happy Labor Day.

Naqeeb Khan