Over 1700 signatories to Tesfaye: Suspend income and work requirements for immigrants amid Corona Crisis

Immigrants in Denmark write to Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye
after corona crisis. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen / Ritzau Scanpix

Dispensation of Income and Work requirements for Denmark Immigrants during Corona Lockdown

Dear Mattias Tesfaye,

COVID-19 crisis has on one side caused a huge human and economic loss but on the other side, it has also united us as human beings as we all are in this together. Denmark surely has suffered a lot during these crisis but our unity and helping spirit will keep us alive and prosperous. 

Although COVID-19 has indiscriminately hit everyone, whether local or immigrant but immigrants are the one who have to face another battle amid COVID-19. They have to face the strict immigration laws and earn required income and work continuously. One might justify these strict rules in normal circumstances but asking for the same level of income and work despite COVID-19 crisis and lockdown is unfair and irrational.

These immigrants have to show an annual income and continuous work for visa extension, Permanent Residency and Family Reunification applications. During these corona crisis many of them have lost their jobs, while others have been told to stay home. Thus it is impossible for many to show the required income and continuous work.

It is commendable how the Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen with the help of government support parties like Enhedslisten, Radikale Venstre and SF, showed leadership and took initiatives that has minimised the damage to human lives and economy. We also appreciate government financial support to companies and employees but that still do not solve those immigrants’ problems who are on pay limit scheme, green card scheme or applying for Permanent Residency or family reunification or EU students who could not fulfil the work requirement thus told to return back all SU amount.

Why Government Corona Package is not helping these immigrants:

The Corona package to employees has a limit and conditions. These conditions and limit has cut the last hope of immigrants. Corona Help Package could not help these immigrants because;

Workers are fired: One of the conditions of Corona Help package is that it can be received only by those who are not fired from work. Hundreds of these immigrants have been fired from jobs thus they can not avail the Government corona compensation. Especially, tourism, hotel and restaurant industry has fired most of their employees. It is thus impossible for these employees to earn the required income and show continuous work for visa extension or Permanent Residency and family reunification applications. In some cases, the companies have filed bankruptcy and employees have even not got March salary. 

Part time job holders: Most of the part time jobs holders are straight away fired from work after corona crisis. Many of immigrants were doing two part time jobs due to various reasons and after the lockdown they lost both of their jobs straight away. Thus they are not getting any compensations from Corona Help package.

Lower Compensation than required income: Although there are many immigrants who get the compensation from Government Corona Help Package but the amount of compensation is much less than the required annual income for visa extension or other applications. Thus these immigrants still have to suffer as they can not fulfil the income requirement and finding a new job is almost impossible in these crisis. 

Commission based jobs: There are many immigrants who are working in retail and commission based businesses. Their salary is based on basic pay plus commission on the sales. Corona Compensation to these employees is given on their basic pay which is why their income is much less than the required income. 

Over 1730 Signatories asking for Dispensation of Income and Work Requirements

Due to this stressful situation, we collected signatures through an online petition asking for dispensation of income and work requirements for visa extension, Permanent residency and family reunification during these crisis. More than 1730 people have signed the petition until now.

Link to Online Petition: Click here

Solution and Recommendations: 

There can be quite a simple solution which will help thousands of immigrants breathe peacefully during this global pandemic. Government can suspend these income and work requirements for visa extension, Permanent Residency and family reunification applicants during these crisis lets say from March to June just like the suspension of 225 hours of work per year rule for Danish national getting cash help and the handshake requirement for new citizens. This will give a fair chance to these immigrants to fulfil the requirements when the lockdown is over. These immigrants will thus be able to focus on their daily life and safeguard themselves and their families from coronavirus and its aftermath.

Best Regards

Over 1720 signatories

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Danish Govt demand immigrants to show annual income or be ready for deportation despite corona lockdown

Despite the lockdown and economic crisis amend corona crisis, Danish Govt continue to demand
immigrants to show annual income or be ready for deportation. Photo: Christoffer Laursen Hald / TV 2 NYHEDERNE

Corona Crisis has lockdown the whole world and businesses are falling apart. Thousands of employees have lost their jobs over night and hundreds of companies have filed bankruptcy. Denmark is no different and businesses are going down while employees are fired. Danish govt announced a much needed package but immigrants will continue to suffer as there is no relief for migrant workers. They rather face deportation despite the current global pandemic.

Denmark Corona Crisis: Immigrants continue to suffer despite Govt package

In a new move, Ministry of Integration has announced through the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) that there will be no mercy on those who lost their jobs because of the corona crisis. If immigrants want to stay in Denmark they have to show the required annual income.

Dispensation from income requirement due to the COVID-19 situation cannot be granted, even if you have been sent home without salary or laid off from your job, says the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

It is obvious that these immigrants can not find jobs during these crisis and will not be able to fulfil income and work requirement. Thus they will be deported and punished for something that has nothing to do with them. On one side Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen request people to stay home and lock their business while on the other side demand from immigrants to show income otherwise face deportation. It is a clear sign of injustice and no mercy especially in the midst of this global pandemic.

Denmark: Corona Virus economic crisis may result in thousands of immigrants losing their work permits

One of the immigrants who got an email on 30th March from his company that the company has filled bankruptcy and he will not be getting even the March salary for which he has worked. His visa extension is due in June. In current crisis, it will be almost impossible for him to find a new job and fulfil income requirement. His request from govt is to waive the income and work requirement for at least 3 months so that at least he can extend his stay in Denmark where he has been living for over 5 years along his 2 daughters.

Naqeeb Khan is a research graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland and currently 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.