SHARE
COPY LINK

UN

‘We’ll take quota refugees’: Denmark to UN

Denmark is set to resume accepting refugees under the UN’s quota system after a three-year hiatus.

'We’ll take quota refugees': Denmark to UN
Syrian refugees at the al-Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan in 2012. File photo: Majed Jaber / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix

Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye has informed the UN’s arm for refugees, UNHCR, that Denmark will take in refugees protected under the UNHCR quota system from this year.

“I informed (the UN on July 11th) that Denmark wishes to accept a small group of quota refugees who require special [medical, ed.] assistance from 2019,” Tesfaye told newspaper Politiken in a written message.

A number of steps are involved in the process of deciding which refugees will be taken in by Denmark, the minister said.

“It’s too early to say when the first quota refugees can be accepted, just as the exact number for 2019 is yet to be confirmed,” he said.

Previous annual numbers of UN quota refugees have been around 500.

The government decision on the issue was set out in the agreement reached between Tesfaye’s party, the Social Democrats, and three left-wing allied parties in the political agreement which followed the general election in June.

That deal enabled the Social Democrats to form a minority government as Denmark’s left won an overall majority in the election.

In addition to the group cited by Tesfaye, the immigration ministry has also informed UNHCR that it will accept general quota refugees from 2020.

Denmark first refused to take refugees from the UN’s quota system for resettlement from its UNHCR camps under the previous government in 2016, citing a need for “breathing space” to manage those already in the country. The policy was renewed annually up to and including last year.

The UNHCR’s North Europe spokesperson Caroline Bach praised the decision by the Danish government.

“With an increasing number of refugees who have a pressing need to be resettled, these gestures of solidarity are more important than ever,” Bach said according to Politken’s report.

The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) called the decision a “break of campaign promises” by the Social Democrats.

“We consider this a break of campaign promises made by the Social Democrats during the election to retain a strict immigration policy,” DF parliamentary group leader Peter Skaarup said.

READ ALSO: New Danish government to scrap plans for 'deserted island' deportation facility

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question. 

SHOW COMMENTS