Denmark approves controversial migrant assets bill

The Danish parliament has backed a controversial proposal to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to pay for their upkeep.

Denmark says the policy brings migrants in line with jobless Danes, who must sell assets above a certain level to claim benefits.

MPs also approved plans to delay family reunions for asylum seekers.

The bill was expected to go through even though it had been criticised by human rights groups.

Under the new law, refugees entering the country will only be allowed to keep possessions up to a value of about 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros; £1,000) – a figure raised from 3,000 kroner following objections.

Items of sentimental value, such as wedding rings, will be exempt.

Danish critics have likened the move to the confiscation of valuables from Jews during World War Two.

The new law also means the period migrants will have to wait before applying for relatives to join them will be extended from one year to three – a move aimed at discouraging new arrivals.

Temporary residence permits will be shortened and the conditions for obtaining a permanent permit will be restricted.

Denmark expects to receive around 20,000 asylum seekers in 2016, compared with 15,000 last year, the integration ministry told BBC News.

Denmark received about 20,000 asylum seekers last year while its neighbours Germany got 1.1 million and Sweden 163,000.

“We are talking about a real exodus,” said Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesman for the populist Danish People’s Party. “More needs to be done: we need more border controls. We need tighter immigration rules.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35406436

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