Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Danish immigration model didn't work

Denmark has let relatively more immigrants into the country in recent years than the Netherlands according to an analysis of Eurostat figures by Dutch press agency ANP and weblog Sargasso. This is striking as the minority Rutte cabinet supported by the anti-immigration Freedom Party has used the strict immigration policies under the former right-wing conservative Danish government as an example.

For 2010, immigration in the Netherlands was much lower at 32.9 immigrants per 10,000 residents than the Danish figure: 51.6.

In recent years, Dutch immigration has dropped. In 2008, more than 38 immigrants per 10,000 residents entered the country, in 2009 this figure was over 34. In all three years, the Netherlands was far below the European average of 48 immigrants per 10,000 residents. In Denmark immigration figures fell in 2009, but rose again last year.

Three years ago, most immigrants came to Denmark to study, in the past two years, most came to work there. Migration expert Jeroen Doomernik of the University of Amsterdam, says this shows the government policies have a limited influence on immigration. “In reality it is the economy that dictates. People go to Denmark because the economy attracts them.”

Fewer people come to the Netherlands to study or work. In 2010, family migration in the Netherlands (13:10,000) was slightly under the European average (14.9:10,000). In Denmark this figure was much lower at 9 per 10,000 residents.

Denmark also saw more immigrants in the category ‘other’ which includes granted asylum requests. In 2008, there were hardly any immigrants in this category. In 2009, this figure increased to 7.6 per 10,000 residents, the same figure as in the Netherlands. In 2010, more immigrants in this category entered Denmark than the Netherlands (9.7 compared to 7.2).

“Restrictive measures don’t work particularly well. The country’s image is more important. There is a dip for a couple of years, but then the number goes back up. Immigration figures are a better indication of a good economy than of a strict immigration policy,'' Mr Doomernik says.

The figures for immigration from Muslim countries was just about the same in both countries in 2010 (11.5:10,000). The number has fallen slightly since 2008 in the Netherlands, whereas it has increased in Denmark.


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