The adjusted Danish Citizenship rules! Bigotry continues and so do our struggle!

Comparison of Original Citizenship agreement 20th April, 2021 and updated one of 17th June 2021.

On 20th April, 2021, Social Democrats along with Venstre, Liberal Alliance and Conservative signed an agreement regarding obtaining Danish citizenship via naturalisation. The agreement entailed number of unfair, discriminatory and racist rules. Danish Green Card Association and Green Human Recourses have from day one criticised these rules and called upon all the parties and MPs to reconsider these rules as they are unreasonable and in fact a hurdle to a good integration of new Danes into Danish society.

Read more: Nye regler for statsborgerskab bliver ikke den sidste stramning

After a continuous and rigorous campaign and the June 2, 2021 demonstration, we managed to put pressure on parties to the agreement to alter the rules for good. As a result the ministry issued another circular agreed on June 11, 2021 with some amendments. The ministry also sent the details of the updated agreement and answers to our questions in a letter dated 22 June, 2021. Although there has been few achievement of our campaign but mostly the rules remain unchanged or even worse in some cases. We are also not satisfied with the answers we receive from the Ministry. We believe that these rules are unfair and unjustifiable. They will make it impossible for many to obtain Danish citizenship which we consider a basic human right of those who have been living in Denmark either since birth or for over 10 years. Some of the rules are no less than humiliating the immigrants and youth with the unreasonable demands. Therefore, our resistance will continue against these rules.

Read more: Cirkulæreskrivelse om naturalisation 17/06/2021

Udlændinge- og Integrationsministreriet svar på vores spørgsmål.

Following is the comparison of the main points of original and updated agreement on Danish citizenship dated 17 June 2021.

Guidelines20 April 2021 Original Agreement17 June 2021 Changes in the agreement
Employment Requirement– 3,5 years full time work in last 4 years. – Applied retroactively on all application submitted after 10th April, 2020.– 3,5 years full time work in last 4 years. – Applied from the date the agreement was signed 20th April, 2021.
Young Students– Automatically Exempt from work requirement if entered Denmark before they turn 15 and up to the age of 25.– They have to apply for dispensation from work requirement to the parliament Indigenous Rights Committee.
– Plus a prerequisite that one should have entered Denmark before the age of 8 and should apply for citizenship before one reaches the age of 22.
– Applied retroactively on all application submitted after 10th April, 2020.
Residence Requirement– 2 years of Permanent Residence (1 year for Refugees and stateless persons) – Applied retroactively from 10th April 2021– Remain same as before. – Plus have the opportunity to apply for dispensation to committee without any guaranteed positive outcome.
MENAP plus Turkey (Racial & Religious profiling)– Names of each applicant will be listed in separate headings considering their country of origin. Muslim majority countries (MENAP Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan plus Turkey) applicants names will be listed separately under MENAP plus Turkey heading. Paving way to discrimination and racism.– Remain same as before.  
Citizenship test– 5 more questions on Danish values making it 45 in total – 4 correct out of 5 new questions – 32 correct out of rest of 40 questions– Remain same as before.
Dispensation for applications submitted after 20 April 2020. Employment requirement– No dispensation.– Part time workers who have worked less than 30 hours a week or less than 120 hours a month – Persons who have taken more than 6 months unemployment allowance (Dagepenge) in last 4 years. – The opportunity of applying for dispensation does not mean a guaranteed dispensation.
Ban on obtaining Citizenship– Conditional or unconditional prison sentence– Remain same as before.
Comparison of Original Citizenship agreement and updated one

Danish Green Card Association and Green Human Resources are very much concerned over the above changes which will make life miserable for many in Denmark. The integration of these new Danes will be even harder and might results in stress and trauma to probable new Danes especially those who are born here in Denmark and who will be forced to leave education and start work in a bit to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Read more: 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

Fair rules; Our Recommendations

The two organisation has already written to parties and MPs about the new citizenship rules and informed them about our recommendations which are as follow.

Employment requirement

An applicant of Danish citizenship already show 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 career 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. Employment requirement will also force women to either choose family or work as they have to first show 3,5 years work for permanent residency and then for citizenship application.

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.

Residence Requirement

Danish Green Card Association and Green Human Resources believe that residency requirement is utterly unreasonable. An applicant who has fulfilled all requirements including the residence requirement for Citizenship which is 9 years should not be told to spend 2 more years in Denmark before applying for citizenship. It negate the very basic rules of the citizenship itself as it will require an applicant to spend almost 11 years before applying for Danish citizenship instead of 9 years.

The residence requirement will specially hit hard the youth as despite living in Denmark since birth they will have to spend 2 more years after getting permanent residency at the age of 18. This is completely risking the confidence of youth and humiliating them with unreasonable demands in a country they already call home.

Young Students

Danish Green Card Association and Green Human Resources are categorically shattered over the work requirement for young people for obtaining Danish citizenship in the newly updated version of the agreement. It will definitely disturb and destroy future of many young people. They will have to focus starting full time work instead of their studies at the young age or wait until they turn 30 to get Danish citizenship.

We believe that the parties should restore the first guidelines regarding the work employment for young people which automatically exempted all those from work requirement who have entered Denmark before the age of 15 and up to 25 years of age. This will also reduce an extra burden of work for the Indigenous Right Committee of parliament, immigration ministry staff and give a sense of confidence to youth that they are part of the society and we value them instead of demanding unreasonable and unjustified requirements.

MENAP plus Turkey

The new agreement includes among other things the separation of Danish citizenship applicants into headings based on their national background. Muslim majority countries applicants will be grouped under the name of MENAP plus Turkey (Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan plus Turkey) and similarly non-western countries which might include South Asian, South American and other countries and the western countries applicants will be under these headings respectively. This will actually pave way for more racial and religious discrimination in near future. We believe that such lists violates the very basics of Danish values of freedom of religion and contradicts the UN human rights conventions.

Education counted as full time work

The new guidelines states that education will not be counted as full time work with some exemption for young people. We have long campaigned to count education as full time work for permanent residency applications while the current agreement is not even recognising education as full time work for citizenship applications. We believe this is forcefully creating a pool of uneducated and unskilled labour in Denmark. We believe that education should be an alternative to work for citizenship applications with no limits of age because the higher immigrants get education the more will it contribute to Danish society and economy.

Dagpenge (A-kasse) and Supplementary Dagpenge should be counted as full work

We recommend to consider dagepenge (A-kasse) and supplementary dagpenge 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 Danes 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.

Danish Green Card Association and Green Human Resources will continue a fair struggle against these new unreasonable and unjust citizenship rules. We have a planned meeting with the Indigenous Right Committee of parliament where we will propose the above amendments and recommendations to make the rules more fair and justifiable.

  • 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.
  • 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 .

    Read more: Regler for statsborgerskab strammes med 13 måneders tilbagevirkende kraft

    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.

    Cycle March for Health and Environment around Denmark

    Cycle March for health, fitness and environment

    Cycling has for long benefited human beings with their health, fitness and as a transportation mode. It has helped maintain a environmentally friendly society.

    Denmark is usually crowned as world best country for cycling with over 12,000km of cycle routes, along with dedicated cycling lanes, cycle bridges and Green Wave system which prioritise cyclists at junctions.

    This Cycle march around Denmark starts on August 14 from Bispebjerg Cemetery Copenhagen at 9:30 am. The reason why this cycle march is going to start from Bispebjerg Cemetery is that here lies the body of young Danish cyclist Andreas Byskov Sarbo who died during a cycling race in Odder Denmark on 1st June 2019.

    The cycling march first stop will be Ringsted. It will then cycle to Korsør. Surprisingly the Storebæltsbroen does not have the cycle lane so therefore, train will be used to cross the bridge and land in Nyborg city in Fyn. Next stop will be Odense where there will be night stay. On 15 August the cycle march will attend attend a demonstration against racism and discrimination in Odense. Around 14:00 on 15th August, march will cycle towards Fredericia. After which next stop will be Vejle where there will be night stay.

    Facebook event page of the Cycle March around Denmark

    On Sunday 16th August the cycle march will start at 10:00 from Vejle Municipality and will lead towards Odder city. Odder is the town where young Dane cyclist died during a cycle race after an accident. After that cycling will continue towards Aarhus where there will be night stay.

    17 August will be the last day of cycle march. It will start from Aarhus and will take the ship towards Zealand, Denmark. It will take another ferry to reach to Hundested town. Thereafter, next stop will be the lovely Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød. Finally Cycle March will reach Copenhagen Rådhuspladsen at 18:30 on 17th August. It will be the end of this Cycle March.

    The aim of this cycle march is to promote cycling habits in Denmark and around the world. It aims to motivate individuals of all ages to cycle for their health and fitness and push various businesses and Governmental institutions to focus on environmentally friendly policies and strategies to help fight climate change.

    Click here for Complete Map of the Cycle March along routes, stops and goals.

    #ThinkGreenRideABike
    #CycleForHealth
    #CycleWithNaqeeb
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    Complete Plan, Route, Stops and Goals
    —————————————————————

    Start: 14. August, Bispebjerg Cemetery – Korsør – Nyborg – Odense
    𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧:
    Kl. 9:30 from Frederiksborgvej 125, 2400 København NV
    The reason why I start at Bispebjerg Cemetery is that here lies the body of young Danish cyclist who died during a cycling race in Odder Denmark on 1st June 2019.

    Stop:
    Kl. 13:30. Ringsted Outlet

    Stop:
    Kl. 17:30. Korsør Station,
    Storebæltsvej 2, 4220 Korsør

    Stop:
    Kl. 18:00 Nyborg Station

    End:
    Kl. 19:00 Odense

    𝗥O𝗨𝗧𝗘:
    https://goo.gl/maps/1S9pGow7Za3aBWdr5
    —————————————————————

    15 August: Odense – Frederikcia – Vejle
    𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧:
    Kl. 10 Odense Rådhus

    Stop: Kl. 13:00 til 14:00
    Filosofgangen 30, 5000 Odense, Denmark
    Odense – sammen mod racisme og diskrimination
    https://www.facebook.com/events/3386213221429999/

    Stop:
    Kl. 17 Fredericia Rådhus, Gothersgade 20, 7000 Fredericia

    End:
    Kl. 18 Vejle Rådhus, Klostergade 1, 7100 Vejle

    𝗥O𝗨𝗧𝗘:
    https://goo.gl/maps/Aga6cN96MVFBuXx88
    —————————————————————

    16 August: Vejle – Odder – Aarhus
    𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧:
    Kl. 10:00
    Vejle Rådhus, Klostergade 1, 7100 Vejle

    Stop: Kl. 13:30
    Odder Rådhus, Rådhusgade 3, 8300 Odder

    END: Kl. 16:00
    Aarhus Radhus, Sønder Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus

    𝗥O𝗨𝗧𝗘:
    https://goo.gl/maps/ajZ3wyJYdMbG1GfZ9
    —————————————————————

    17 August: Aarhus-Hundested-Hillrød Castle-Copenhagen Rådhuspladen
    𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧: Kl. 8:30
    Aarhus Rådhus,
    Sønder Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus

    Stop: Kl. 11:30 til 12:30
    Hundested Havn Amtsvejen 2, 3390 Hundested

    Stop: Kl. 16:00
    Frederiksborg Castle, Frederiksborg Slot 10, 3400 Hillerød

    END: Kl. 18:30
    Rådhuspladens Copenhagen,
    End of the Cycle March

    𝗥O𝗨𝗧𝗘:
    https://goo.gl/maps/ruVe8nxNYNHTqF8Y8
    —————————————————————

    End of Cycle March: 17th August: Rådhuspladen Copenhagen

    END: Kl. 18:30
    Rådhuspladens Copenhagen.