Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Educated immigrants should automatically receive residence permits, say members of Denmark's Liberal Party

Copenhagen Post:

Foreigners must have a job before they can receive a residence permit under current Danish immigration rules. Two members of the government's Liberal Party suggested, however, the country should open its borders by automatically offering educated workers residence permits.

If, after six months, the newcomers had found a foothold on the labour market under the same working and wage conditions as Danish workers, they could obtain an extension of their residence permits.

'We need to consider new ideas to ensure that Denmark gets the qualified workforce it needs,' said the Liberal Party's spokesperson on integration matters, Irene Simonsen, who submitted the proposal along with Søren Pind.

The idea, said Simonsen, is to get foreigners with desirable skills to come to Denmark if they can support themselves.

The proposal came as the government prepares for this spring's negotiations to revamp the nation's social welfare system.

The proposal received the backing of the Liberals' governing partner, the Conservative Party.

'We'll consider the proposal,' said the Conservative spokesperson for integration affairs, Henriette Kjær. 'But it requires that we protect ourselves against possible loopholes, so the system won't be misused.'

Opposition party the Social Democrats also expressed initial support for the proposal.

'The global economy requires that we can cross over national borders, so we are quite positive about the initiative,' said Henrik Saas Larsen, the party's spokesperson for integration.

Government ally the Danish People's Party voiced a different tone about the idea.

'We aren't supporters of that,' said party vice chairman Peter Skaarup. 'We risk opening the borders for 'social tourists' who come here because of our social welfare system, which helps all people who cannot help themselves.'

Of course, Islamic terrorist groups will probably start recruiting educated Muslims in order to take advantage of this new policy.

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