Denmark

 

2014

  • Rank: 13 out of 38
  • MIPEX Score: 59
  • LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY 79
  • FAMILY REUNION 42
  • EDUCATION 49
  • HEALTH 53
  • POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 64
  • PERMANENT RESIDENCE 74
  • ACCESS TO NATIONALITY 58
  • ANTI-DISCRIMINATION 50

Key Findings

Changes in context

  • A country of net migration since the 1960s, the foreign-born make up 10% of the population (higher than FI but lower than NO and SE)
  • Slight decline during global financial crisis in DK’s comparatively high employment rates, despite its large investment in active labour market programmes 
  • Increased numbers of highly-skilled, 1/4 of non-EU are university-educated (similar to FI, lower than NO/SE)
  • Increasing numbers of asylum-seekers in 2013 and 2014
  • As in other Nordics, most people in DK think immigrants enrich DK economically and culturally, feel good in their life there and deserve equal rights as DK citizens 
  • A conservative minority government has depended on the support of the DK People’s Party from 2001-2011 and again since the 2015 elections, following a 2012-2015 centre-left coalition

Key Common Statistics

Country of net migration since:% Non-EU citizens% Foreign-born% Non-EU of foreign-born% Non-EU university-educated % from low or medium-developed (HDI) country
1960s4.1%9.8%67%27%64%
UN 2010 data in 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013

Changes in policy

Since 2001, centre-right minority governments have been supported by the DK People’s Party in exchange for immigration and integration restrictions, while the opposition has often been galvanized in reaction to these restrictions. The 2011-5 centre-left coalition systematically reduced these restrictions and redirected DK towards international best practices and trends. Most of these restrictions are now likely to be reintroduced by the new centre-right minority following the 2015 elections. Rather than adopt one clear reform or system, both centre-right and centre-left governments chose to make many small changes over time, especially before elections, but for different reasons. The centre-right was constantly responding to criticism by DK People’s Party with new ‘restrictive’ messages while the centre-left tried to avoid further politicisation of the debate. MIPEX recorded around 40 major changes since 2007 (see timeline) with around 30 changing DK’s MIPEX score:

2007-2010 changes: -2 overall (6 policy areas)
0 on labour market mobility policy
-9 on family reunion policy
-3 on political participation policy
+2 on permanent residence policy
-1 on access to nationality policy
+3 on anti-discrimination policy

2010-2014 changes: +10 overall (7 policy areas) 
+9 on labour market mobility policy
+14 on family reunion policy
+4 on migrant education policy
+8 on political participation policy
+11 on permanent residence policy
+23 on access to nationality policy
+4 on anti-discrimination policy

Conclusions and recommendations

The need for greater integration support is generally similar in DK and most countries in Northwest Europe. Both high- and low-educated non-EU men and women are less likely to find jobs than non-immigrants, while their children are put at a disadvantage in the school system and progress is slow over time. The Nordic countries’ well-known investments in the education/training system, public sector and active citizenship help improve and activate the skills of large numbers of people in DK, including immigrants, who are more likely to access targeted trainings, justice and civic volunteering in Nordic countries than elsewhere. The challenge is to guarantee that immigrants are not under-represented in the most effective measures (e.g. mixed quality schools for children, work-specific/based training for adults).
The needs are greater in DK than elsewhere for a clear path to permanent residence and citizenship. While most non-EU immigrants are long-settled in this long-established destination country, they have been much less likely to reunite with their family, settle as permanent residents or become citizens in DK than in similar European countries. Until recent reforms passed, most had been discouraged by a decade of some of the developed world’s most restrictive policies that leave immigrants legally precarious and socially excluded. This approach does not support and recognise immigrants’ real efforts to participate in society to the best of their abilities and circumstances. Such unrealistic expectations may be setting many immigrants up for failure, with disproportionate effects on vulnerable groups and integration outcomes in many areas of life. 
DK’s integration policies are less comprehensive, responsive and evidence-based than others in Northwest Europe because immigration has been so highly politicised that little consensus exists on almost any aspect of integration policy, even individual naturalisations. Close elections and unstable coalitions have allowed the far-right to dictate the terms of the debate. This debate is largely focused on reducing the number of arrivals, use of social benefits and persistent integration gaps. As a result, evidence on integration and the effects of policies goes uncollected or gets overlooked or dismissed as politically biased. The few robust evaluations and pilots (see Bilgili 2015) are limited to labour market and education support. 

TIMELINE

PREV
  • APRIL
    2007
  • APRIL
    2008
  • APRIL
    2008
  • JANUARY
    2009
  • DECEMBER
    2009
  • MARCH
    2010
  • APRIL
    2010
  • MAY
    2010
  • MAY
    2010
  • DECEMBER
    2010
  • DECEMBER
    2010
  • DECEMBER
    2010
  • JANUARY
    2011
  • JUNE
    2011
  • DECEMBER
    2011
  • DECEMBER
    2011
  • MAY
    2012
  • MAY
    2012
  • JUNE
    2012
  • JULY
    2012
  • DECEMBER
    2012
  • APRIL
    2013
  • MAY
    2013
  • JUNE
    2013
  • JUNE
    2013
  • OCTOBER
    2013
  • NOVEMBER
    2013
  • DECEMBER
    2013
  • DECEMBER
    2013
  • DECEMBER
    2013
  • DECEMBER
    2013
  • JANUARY
    2014
  • JANUARY
    2014
  • JANUARY
    2014
  • JANUARY
    2014
  • MAY
    2014
  • DECEMBER
    2014
  • DECEMBER
    2014
NEXT

POLICIES - SUMMARY

  • LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 7 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      25%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      36%
  • FAMILY REUNION

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 35 of 38
    • Outcome Indicators

      3
  • EDUCATION

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 14 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      9%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      69%
  • HEALTH

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 12 of 38
  • POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 9 of 38
    • Real Beneficiaries

      47%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      84%
  • PERMANENT RESIDENCE

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 3 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      75%
  • ACCESS TO NATIONALITY

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 15 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      55%
    • Outcome Indicators

      1%
  • ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

    Score:

    Denmark
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 27 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      2%
    • Outcome Indicators

      1323

Labour Market Mobility

Key Findings

Like leading Nordics, DE and CA, DK's 2011/5 government aimed to boost employment rates and quality by combining effective work-based programmes with equal access to benefits 

 

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants could be employed?

Fewer working-age non-EU citizens are outside of employment, education and training in DK, NO, SE and UK than in most European countries, using 2011/2 European-wide data. These low levels are partly explained by the greater access to adult training in Nordic countries compared to the rest of Europe.  In contrast, 1/3 of working-age non-EU citizens is not in employment, education or training in the average European country, with even higher levels in BE and FR. The patterns for men/women and high/low educated are similar across Europe, including SE. These levels are higher among low-educated men and women (around 1/3, similar in NO and SE).

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?

Since 2011, DK's left-of-centre government maintained and improved DK's world-class language, mentoring and work placement programmes, while removing recent restrictions that had few positive and several negative effects on newcomers' socio-economic integration. Subsidising work experience and language learning aims to boost immigrants' employment rates and quality. Equal access to social rights also aims to boost employment and integration outcomes, so that newcomers have the same support as settled DK citizens to find jobs, invest in their skills and avoid social exclusion and poverty. Combining demanding trainings and placements with equal benefits and support is likely to improve labour market integration in DK, with its policies now ranking 7th out of 38 on MIPEX and jumping +9 points from 70-to-79 from 2010-to-2014. This approach is similar to the other Nordic countries (FI, NO, SE), DE and CA. 

Dimension 1: Access to labour market

  • Permanent residents, family members and green card holders can apply for jobs in any sector – private, public, and self-employment – a flexibility enjoyed by newcomers in most Nordic and Western European countries

Dimension 2: Access to general support

  • Non-EU newcomers may face greater obstacles in DK than elsewhere in Western Europe to get their foreign qualifications recognised and get a new degree
  • Ranked 19th, these obstacles to general support in DK can make it difficult to find a job, especially a good job using all their skills
  • Non-EU work-permit holders face delays to access public employment services and vocational training, unlike DK citizens and other immigrants (equal access in the majority of MIPEX countries)
  • Procedures to recognise non-EU qualifications remain complicated than for EU qualifications in DK (see procedures in other Nordics, AU, DE, NL, NZ, UK)
  • Positively, people with foreign skills can benefit from the right to recognise their prior learning and informal competencies (e.g. tools from 2004-2008 5 regional knowledge centres on documentation and recognition of prior learning for refugees and immigrants)

Dimension 3: Targeted support

  • With limited general support, non-EU newcomers can turn to new and improving targeted measures that are the 2nd most elaborate among the MIPEX countries, tied with DE, NO, and NZ, similar to FI and now AT, and just behind SE’s introduction plans
  • The Labour Market Authority tends to strengthen its programmes based on monitoring statistics and a few robust evaluations (see box below)
  • Municipalities provide newcomer families and refugees  with an individual integration plan, including the local job centre, free DK courses and vocational training, targeted information and work experience, which should be better coordinated since Law n. 650 in May 2013
  • All non-EU immigrants can now take enough free flexible DK courses (also online Dansk) to attain the level of fluency required for their job, including work-specific DK courses (up to 250 hours since Law n. 1610 in December 2013) 
  • In addition, migrant women can get help to find jobs and mentors (kvindeprogrammet kvinfo mentor network), while migrant youth can get help to find jobs and training through the 'We need all youngsters' campaign

Dimension 4: Workers' rights

  • By 2014, most non-EU newcomers in DK enjoyed the same access to social security and housing that DK citizens use to avoid social exclusion and poverty and to find jobs (see evaluations below)
  • Internationally, newcomers enjoy equal access to social security and housing in nearly every Nordic and Western European country as well as CA
  • Restrictions and reductions on benefits ('Start Help') were introduced by the right-of-centre 2001/11 minority government, removed by the 2011/5 left-of-centre government and likely to be re-introduced by the 2015 right-of-centre minority government
  • Since law n. 1364 of December 2011 repeal of Start Help and other restrictions, newcomers benefit from equal access to social assistance (affecting 4000 people per year), equal levels of cash benefits (affecting 6000 people per year) and equal access to the introduction programme (affecting >5000 people per year)
  • Even so, people arriving from non-EU countries still faced delays for full child benefits (2 years in DK, L 160 reform rejected) and invalidity/old-age benefits (10 years in DK) and risked losing permits for their family if receiving certain public benefits

Real beneficiaries

Are immigrants acquiring new skills?

Working-age non-EU citizens are more likely to access education and training in DK and the other Nordics, especially SE, than in most other European countries. Over 1/3 of high- and low-educated men and women reported that they were recently enrolled in adult education or training in 2011/2 in DK, similar to FI, NL, NO and UK and below SE (42%). These levels are even higher for women in DK (38%), especially the high-educated (44%). Despite these positive steps, only a minority of non-EU-born adults in DK or in most European countries ultimately obtain a formal degree in their new country of residence. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants find skilled and well-paid jobs?

  • High employment rates (≥70%) in DK and other Nordics
  • Flexible employment protection legislation in DK and other Nordics
  • Sizeable numbers of recent migrants coming for work
  • Few non-EU-born immigrants obtain a formal educational degree in DK
  • Exposure to DK language hardly possible before migration

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?

Labour market integration does improve over time in DK as in most European countries, according to 2011/2  EU Labour Force Survey Data. After 10+ years in DK, 3/4 of university-educated non-EU-born men are working, as are 2/3 of women. These high-educated men and women are 15% less likely to be employed than the high-educated DK-born. A slight majority of low-educated non-EU-born are also working (52%), while rates are lower among women (42%). They are 25% less likely to be employed than the low-educated DK-born. In comparison, employment levels seem to be somewhat higher and the gaps lower for low-educated non-EU-born men in FI, high-educated men and women in SE and all groups in NO. 

Another long-term problem is getting immigrants into jobs that fully use their skills and provide sufficient wages and benefits. Among the long-settled non-EU-born, 1/4 of high-educated women are working in jobs below the level of their qualifications, which is twice the level than for high-educated DK-born women. Over-qualification also affects 1/3 of the long-settled high-educated non-EU-born men, which is three times the level than for high-educated DK-born men. Rough estimates also suggest that long-settled low-educated non-EU-born men and women are much more likely to experience in-work-poverty than low-educated DK-born men.

Evidence base

What do we learn from robust studies?

A dozen robust impact evaluations were identified in DK and generally arrive to similar conclusions about the effects of targeted programmes and benefit reductions (see Biligi 2015). Programmes offering early work experience (whether subsidised, agency or direct) and boosting language skills are especially effective to boost employment rates for non-Western immigrants, while less flexible programmes can have negative 'lock-in' effects (Bolving et al. 2003, Clausen et al. 2006, Rosdahl 2006, Heinesen and Hummelgaard 2009, Heinesen et al. 2011, Jahn and Rosholm 2013). Reducing benefits for newcomer refugees ('Start Help') led to small increases in employment rates (though still very low and with no effect on the most vulnerable groups), but also led to major reductions in incomes and increases in poverty and socail problems (Huynh, Schultz-Nielsen, Tranaes 2007, Andersen et al. 2009, Rosholm and Vejlin 2010). 

Family Reunion

Key Findings

Least family-friendly policies in developed world in 2010/1 and still the greatest delays and eligibility restrictions; Until recent reforms, non-EU families much more likely to reunite in other Nordic and Western European countries than in DK, delaying and discouraging the integration of spouses and especially children

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants are potentially living in transnational couples?

The number of non-EU residents separated from their spouse and their family is unknown in DK and other Nordic countries. Estimates from 17 other European countries suggest that the number is limited, with 5-7% of married/partnered non-EU adults not living with their spouse or partner.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants reunite with family?

While non-EU immigrants no longer face the least family-friendly immigration policies in the developed world, they still have fewer opportunities to reunite and integrate in DK than in 34 out of the 37 other MIPEX countries. The only developed countries with worse immigration policies for families' well-being are IE (no real policy exists), CY (guestworker policy prevents long-term integration) and UK (migration cap aims to lower net migration at any cost). Since 2012, non-EU immigrants still face the greatest delays and most restrictive definitions of the family in DK (tied only with CY) as well as some of the most onerous and discretionary conditions. Very few countries have chosen to adopt DK's family reunion policies, even among those not obliged to respect EU law. In most countries, a non-EU immigrant is eligible after at most 1 year to reunite with their opposite or same-sex spouse, minor children and certain dependent adult children/parents, so long as the sponsor provides them with a minimum income and housing using any legal means. DK's previous focus on delaying and reducing family reunion overlooked the negative impacts of these delays on the lives and future integration of separated spouses and children. 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • Immigrants wait longer to reunite with fewer members of their family than in any other developed destination country except CY
  • DK's many eligibility requirements do not reflect the realities of most families
  • Sponsors’ residence requirements are longer than in any MIPEX country (even more restrictive in 2010/1)
  • DK is 1 of only 8 countries with an age limit for spouses/partners and none are as high as DK's (24); equal treatment remains the international standard in the 30 other countries that treat all countries over 18/19 like adults (age limits repealed in BE and UK as disproportionate and ineffective for integration)
  • Spouse age limits only exist in 7 other MIPEX countries, with none so high as Denmark’s (24)
  • Adult children/parents can only reunite under exceptional circumstances e.g. a breach of DK's international obligations, unlike in 25 of the 37 other countries
  • These restrictions even apply to children aged 15-18 (only CY, DK, CH apply such under-age age-limits to minors)

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • Transnational families face highly restrictive requirements that demand more than they support integration, with DK's requirements ranking 32nd out of 38, alongside NL and NO
  • In 2011/2, transnational families were discouraged by the most restrictive requirements in the developed world, including a points-based system, immigration test and high fees, 'attachment' requirements and collaterals (DKK 100000)
  • Since 2012, most requirements from 2011 Law n. 601 were abolished and replaced with the previous criteria
  • Sponsors apply through a free procedure, including a DKK 50000 collateral, proof of adequate housing and no use of public assistance over the past three years
  • With a few exemptions for disabilities and serious illness, reunited spouses must pass an A1 level DK test within 6-9 months of registration (the 'reformed' immigration test) and later the test for permanent residence, for which they can prepare through free courses, online and print materials and model tests

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • Applicants are more uncertain about the outcome than in most countries, with DK ranked 30th, similar to AT and IE
  • As in other countries, cases still emerge of lengthy procedures and waiting times and complicated documentation
  • Applicants can be rejected on many discretionary grounds, most notably DK's exceptional 'attachment requirement' whereby most sponsors (>26 years as DK citizens for immigrants or as residents for those born or raised in DK) must demonstrate that they and their spouse's combined attachments are greater to DK than to any other country
  • Decisions are supposed to take personal circumstances into account and subject to appeal in DK, as in most Western European countries
  • Reuniting families are not guaranteed permits as secure as their sponsor's, unlike in 19 countries (e.g. FI, SE)

Dimension 4: Rights associated

  • Reuniting families enjoy a better start to their integration in DK and a more secure path to residence, thanks to changes from 2011 to 2014
  • Reforms to social and housing benefits guarantee that reuniting family members have equal access to socio-economic rights as their sponsor in DK, as in 22 of the 37 other MIPEX countries
  • In case of their sponsor's death or domestic violence, their family members can remain settled in DK after 2 years' residence and an integration assessment (similar facilities guaranteed in majority of countries)

Real beneficiaries

Are families reuniting?

Most newly arrived immigrants in DK are not family migrants (<1/3 of new permits in 2013). The number of family members reuniting with non-EU citizens in DK increased from around 4000 in 2011/2 to 6000 in 2013. During these years, nearly half were spouses/partners and the other half with children, with the increase affecting both equally. Hardly any other family members are allowed to reunite with non-EU citizens in DK (only 13 total from 2011-3). Newcomer families are very diverse, coming from all over the globe. In 2013, the major countries of origin of non-EU reuniting families were IN (914), CN (533), PK (512), UA (400), SY (365) and IR (330). 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?

  • Sizeable share of humanitarian migrants likely to stay and need family reunion in Nordics
  • Most non-EU citizens long-settled in DK
  • Most from distant low-to-medium developed countries and thus more likely to reunite 

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants reunite with family?

Non-EU family reunion is relatively rare in the EU. Out of every 100 non-EU residents in the average Western Europeaen country, only 3 are newly arrived non-EU family members. Until 2012, non-EU citizens were less likely to reunite with non-EU citizens in DK (around 2 out of 100). In 2013, non-EU family reunion became more common in DK (3 out of 100), around the average for Western Europe. DK's recent reforms are likely responsible. With very few exceptions, non-EU families have been more likely to reunite in countries with inclusive family reunion policies, such as the Nordic, Benelux and Southern European countries. While a family's choice to reunite is also driven by other individual and contextual factors, making policies more restrictive, selective or discretionary can significantly delay or deter both family's reunion and their integration in the country (see Huddleston and Pedersen 2011). 

Education

Key Findings

Targeting immigrant pupils' special needs, DK could do more to promote social integration, multilingualism and intercultural understanding in compulsory education and beyond

Potential Beneficiaries

How many pupils have immigrant parents?

Like most Northern European countries, DK has an increasing number of pupils with immigrant parents in its school system, particularly in large cities. Among 15-year-old pupils, the 2012 OECD PISA study estimated their numbers as 3% 1st generation pupils and 6.1% 2nd generation. 

Policy Indicators

Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?

As in most Western European countries, the DK education system has gone halfway to guarantee an equal quality education for immigrant pupils. DK's migrant education policies rank 14th, alongside AT/DE/LU/NL but far below FI/NO/SE and traditional destination countries. Like these leading countries, DK does offer immigrant pupils strong support to address their specific learning needs within compulsory education. Schools have been experimenting with different ways to fight school segregation and open up to immigrant parents and teachers. Notwithstanding these efforts at inclusion, the DK education system does not yet recognise or teach immigrants' languages and cultures for immigrant pupils, let alone for the majority DK pupils. Nor are all schools required and supported to teach tolerance and non-discrimination to all pupils, despite the benefits of an inclusive citizenship education, particularly for disadvantaged pupils. DK remains far behind trends across Europe and traditional destination countries, although new initiatives were announced in 2013 and 2014 to develop intercultural education and bilingual teaching (+4 MIPEX points on education). Beyond compulsory education, DK could also do much more to help all immigrant pupils progress to higher vocational or academic education, a problem across Western Europe. 

Dimension 1: Access

  • Immigrant pupils are supported to access pre-primary and compulsory education, but more effort is needed on higher education for all immigrant pupils in DK, ranked 15th like most Western European countries, behind FI, SE and traditional destination countries
  • Increasing immigrant pupils' participation in vocational education (e.g. 'Brug for alle unge') could also benefit from more positive actions by employers to guarantee equal opportunities in apprenticeships and work placements (e.g. AT/DE/CH, Nordics, traditional destination countries)
  • Positive actions are also needed among academic higher education (e.g. Nordics, AT/DE, AU/US)
  • Undocumented immigrants arriving as children are not guaranteed the right to complete their full education in DK (see full inclusion in e.g. EE, FR, NL and options in SE and CH)

Dimension 2: Targeting needs

  • Education authorities in DK focus more than most European countries on school-leaving and achievement gaps between immigrant and non-immigrant pupils
  • Immigrant pupils can benefit from as many targeted measures in DK as in FI, NO, SE, EE and traditional destination countries
  • Like most leading countries, DK invests in ongoing quality language courses, extra financial and technical support for schools and pre/in-service teacher training on immigrant pupils' specific needs
  • Recent measures guarantee newcomers initial and ongoing DK language courses, including for children aged 3+ and for early school leavers

Dimension 3: New opportunities

  • Immigrant pupils, parents and teachers in DK can benefit from pilots to make schools into spaces for social integration, though multilingualism and multiculturalism are still mostly overlooked as new opportunities for learning (see examples in other Nordics and traditional destination countries)
  • Immigrants are encouraged to become teachers (e.g. ‘Brug for alle unge’), become more involved as parents (135 projects between 2009-13 and with mostly positive results) and send their children with limited DK language skills to less diverse schools (2006 Act on Folkeskolen leads to bussing in Aarhus and informed free choice programmes in Copenhagen)
  • Starting in 2013, around 4000 6-and-9-year-old immigrant children will able to participate in bilingual mother-tongue teaching pilots (see box)

Dimension 4: Intercultural education

  • There is no structural support for pupils to understand peers of different cultural backgrounds in the curriculum in DK, unlike in most countries
  • DK ranks 30th on intercultural education, alongside only FR, JP and smaller and poorer new destination countries in Central and Southern Europe
  • Intercultural education in Denmark means learning about ‘Western’ values or foreign cultures abroad
  • This focus began to change with the centre-left's 2014 actions to raise awareness about discrimination and diversity in society (e.g. Dialogue, Citizenship and Ethnic Equality fund)

Policy Box

In 2002, the right to mother-tongue education and central government subsidies were limited to European and Nordic students. Most municipalities withdrew their own funding, reducing the participation rate of all bilingual students from 41% in 1997 to 7% in 2008. Unlike DK, most countries teach immigrant languages and cultures, though often only to migrant pupils either at school (e.g. foreign language offer or teaching assistants) or through extra-curricular courses (see more accessible & flexible courses in the other Nordics, AT/CH and AU/CA). In 2013, the DK Education Ministry announced a 30 million kroner project to pilot bilingual mother-tongue teaching in interestsed primary schools. The trials will focus on speakers of Arabic and Teachers (enough qualified teachers available) and test whether mother-tongue teaching improves their language and mathematics skills, inclusion in class activities, motivation, achievement and self-esteem. The test was intended to last until 2016 and provide first results in 2015.

Real beneficiaries

Are pupils with limited literacy getting remedial courses?

Low-literacy immigrant pupils are more likely to benefit from extra out-of-school literacy courses in countries like DK, where these courses are generally available for all pupils and where targeted education policies are strong for immigrant pupils. According to 2012 PISA data, a slight majority (51%) of low-literacy pupils with DK-born parents were enrolled in these literacy courses, as were 69% of 1st and 58% of 2nd generation pupils with low-literacy levels. These high levels of enrollment are similar in FI, SE and US and encouraging for immigrant pupils' long-term progress in the DK education system.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?

  • >50% of immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers are concentrated in disadvantaged schools and one of the widest gaps in DK (like SE)
  • 1/2 of 1st/2nd generation speak the schools' language at home in DK (higher than the 1/3 in NO/SE or 1/5 in FI/IS)
  • Few foreign-born pupils arrive after age 12
  • Large % of GDP spent on education highest in DK as across Nordics
  • Student-teacher ratios relatively low in DK as across Nordics

Outcome indicators

How well are the children of immigrants achieving at school?

Very few DK 15-year-olds are low-achievers on PISA math tests, even among pupils with low-educated mothers (22% in 2012, one of lowest among MIPEX countries). In comparison, DK has the widest gap between FI and 1st or 2nd generation pupils with low-educated mothers. The share of math low-achievers rises to nearly 2/3 of 1st generation pupils with low-educated mothers (similar levels in DK/SE). Although this share decreases to half for 2nd generation pupils with low-educated monthers, this gap is still one of the largest internationally, alongside FI/NO and AT/DE/NL/CH (gap almost disappears between 1st/2nd generation in SE). 

The links between these outcomes and general/targeted education policies are not yet clear. School segregation is certainly an important factor in DK and across the Nordics, while their performance is also affected by other issues than their socio-economic status, DK language skills and parents' education in their country of origin. DK's targeted education policies may be too new, insufficient or poorly adapted to immigrant pupils' diversity of needs and backgrounds.

Evidence base

What do we learn from robust studies?

Immigrant pupils face important barriers to progress in their education, with low completion rates, particularly from vocational upper secondary education and
very low entry rates into academic upper secondary education (Colding 2006). Parent and neighbourhood effects also influence the educational gap between DK-born pupils with immigrant vs. DK-born parents (Nielsen et al. 2003). DK parents (and immigrant parents speaking DK at home) are more likely to opt of the local public school when more than 35% of the pupils have immigrant parents (Rangvid 2010). Analysis of DK and SE school suggests that participation in mother-tongue courses may improve immigrant pupils' reading skills (Mehlbye et al. 2011). 

Health

Key Findings

Major differences in immigrants’ healthcare coverage and access in DK; Besides a few leading specialised and regional services, most mainstream health services are only starting to take immigrants' specific health needs into account

Policy Indicators

Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?

Legal migrants and, to a limited extent, asylum seekers can access health services and information that the DK health system is starting to adapt to immigrants' specific health needs, thanks to a wealth of migrant health data and research and a few specialised initiatives, mostly at regional level. This approach is only halfway favourable to address the needs of all immigrant residents, as access, trainings and standards are not yet provided across the entire system. DK's migrant health policies are ranked 12th tied with FI and BE. The countries taking the greatest lead on migrant health are the English-speaking countries, CH, NO, AT, IT and SE.

Click here to learn more about how MIPEX health was developed with IOM and EU’s COST/ADAPT network through ‘Equi-Health’ project and co-funded by European Commission’s DG SANTE. 

Dimension 1: Entitlements

  • Migrants' entitlements to healthcare are similar in DK to most Western European countries, thanks to gaps for asylum-seekers and especially undocumented migrants (see instead entitlements in BE, FR, JP, NO, NL, NZ, SE, CH)
  • Legal migrants are entitled to the same national health insurance system and services as DK citizens, once they get through the registration process with the DK National Register of Persons
  • Following an initial health assessment, registered asylum-seekers living in centres are outside the national health-care coverage system; care is restricted to 'necessary, urgent and pain-relieving' care while acute care covered by the regions and several vulnerable groups exempt
  • With just a few exceptions, undocumented migrants are only entitled to free emergency/acute care and further treatment under limited circumstances, where their access to care depends on discretionary decisions by practitioners

Dimension 2: Access policies

  • Eligible migrant patients may have greater difficulties to access their entitlements in DK, ranking 24th out of 38
  • Under the law and professional codes of conduct, healthcare professionals cannot report undocumented patients to the authorities or be sanctioned for serving them (similar in 10 other countries)
  • Legal migrants and, to a limited extent, asylum seekers can get information about their entitlements and health issues in various ways and languages
  • This information may not make it to all healthcare providers and their employees
  • Cultural mediators have only been used in a few hospitals on an ad hoc project basis (look to practices in 17 other countries)

Dimension 3: Responsive services

  • The DK health system has started to respond to immigrant patients' specific health and access needs as guidance, standards and training are introduced, mostly by specialised services and practitioners
  • DK's healthcare services are ranked 14th and halfway favourable in terms of their responsiveness (behind AT, CH, Nordics and English-speaking countries)
  • Free interpretation is generally available face-to-face based on physicians' decisions about patients in need (2011 restrictions for residents with 7+  years in DK revoked by new government due to complaints by professionals, regions, academics and patients)
  • Medical practitioners can access professional guidance and training from national and select regional authorities
  • The most responsive services are specialised mental health services (rehabilitation of torture victims, cross-cultural psychiatry, regional migrant health clinics, mobile services for undocumented migrants and trafficking victims)

Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change

  • Several specialised services and regional policies are encouraging the DK health system to open up to immigrant patients, though these policies (DK ranked 7th) are generally weak outside the English-speaking world (see also significant effort in NO) 
  • A wealth of migrant health data and research has created several specialised services and stakeholders, most notably a DK centre for expertise to improve migrant health policies and practice (MESU)
  • Beyond these specialised services and few regional policies, the national policy is limited to intepretation and information 

Political Participation

Key Findings

DK still has work to do to return to the traditionally inclusive Nordic model of democracy; non-EU-born adults are more likely to be citizens and politically active in NO and SE than in DK

Potential Beneficiaries

Who are disenfranchised from voting?

Relatively few non-EU adults in DK do not meet the basic residence requirement for local voting rights (16% according to 2011/2 estimates). This is similar in other inclusive Nordic democracies.

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?

In 2013 and 2014, DK began to return to the traditionally inclusive model of Nordic democracies with greater outreach to immigrants as an under-represented group in public life. Since then, DK's policies are slightly favourable for promoting immigrants' various forms of political participation. DK ranks 9th near IS, SE and AU, but slightly behind the more comprehensive policies in countries such as NZ, FI and SE. Non-EU citizens' right to vote after 3 years was restored in 2012. Recent national initiatives have aimed to increase immigrants' participation in these elections as well as volunteering and civil society. New local citizens' committees have been designed to represent all local residents, including immigrants, while the national Council for Ethnic Minorities was redesigned in 2013 to better represent the experiences of men and women and of all municipalities. These small steps (+8 MIPEX points in this area from 2010 to 2014) are a significant change in direction compared to the previous 10 years of disengagement by the previous centre-right government dependent on the support of the DK People's Party. 

 

 

2013 Law amending the Integration Act on the composition of the Council for Ethnic Minorities allows municipalities without local Councils to appoint representatives to the National Council in order to ensure wider representation. Representatives are still elected from the other councils.  Representatives are also appointed from the four largest municipalities.  The chair is also appointed by the Minister. http://www.ft.dk/samling/20131/lovforslag/l97/html_som_fremsat.htm
Law no. 571 (L 178)
Date of adoption & date of entry into force: June 13th 2012 & January 1st 2013 ensures that foreigners achieve voting rights at local and regional elections after 3 years, against 4 years earlier. By virtue of this, foreigners residing in Denmark can also run for office in local and regional elections after 3 years stay. 
Web-link: http://www.ft.dk/samling/20111/lovforslag/L178/index.htm#dok

New Dialogue, Citizenship and Ethnic Equality Fund: project-based funding intended to increase immigrants' participation in elections, volunteering and organisations: http://sm.dk/nyheder/2014/ny-pulje-skal-styrke-dialog-medborgerskab-og-e...
Ministry-led campaign Alles Valg (Everyone's choice) provided new Danes with  information on both the municipalities' tasks and on the municipal and regional elections.

Denmark’s traditionally strong political participation policies, based on the Nordic democratic model, are now just slightly favourable for integration. Immigrant civil society was severely affected by the 2002 withdrawal of subsidies, which still go to women and disability councils. Now government funds ad hoc ‘diversity’ projects. Since 2010, newcomers must wait 4 – not 3 – years for their electoral rights. The MIPEX score fell slightly when Copenhagen closed its Integration Council (see box). Generally, these Councils provide slightly meaningful opportunities to improve integration policy. They could become more professional with greater structured roles in the process and more engaged and representative with greater links to different immigrant communities, as in NO, BE (Flanders) and NL (national). 

Dimension 1: Electoral rights

  • Voting rights for Nordic residents were granted after 3 years' residence since 1977 and extended to all foreign citizens in 1981
  • Similar to DK, non-EU citizens can stand as local candidates in 13 other countries, vote locally in 20 and regionally in 8 (similar to FI, IE, NL, NO, SE, more inclusive in NZ)
  • Under pressure from DK People's Party (against enfranchisement) the DK centre-right minority government extended the wait in 2010 from 3-to-4 years–the same period as required for permanent residence
  • Under Law n.571 in 2012, the centre-left returned to the traditional Nordic practice; In all thee other Nordic countries, non-EU citizens can vote after 3 years and become permanent residents after 4

Dimension 2: Political liberties

  • Immigrants are guaranteed the same basic political liberties as national citizens in DK, as in most MIPEX countries

Dimension 3: Consultative bodies

  • The structures to consult immigrant residents are slightly favourable meaningful opportunities to inform and improve policies at national level and in certain areas, but are critically missing in others (e.g. Copenhagen) and uneven across the country 
  • Minor improvements were made since 2010 to the national and local councils
  • DK's Council for Ethnic Minorities has been consulted since 1983 and represents immigrant men and women from locally elected councils, plus appointed representatives from major cities without local councils since 2013
  • Local councils are voluntary since 2004, with councils sometimes elected, sometimes appointed, occasionally innovative (e.g. Aarhus, see box) but now absent from half of DK's municipalities, including Copenhagen since 2009 (see instead its 2010-2013 Expert Think-Tank Integration and 2011+ Diversity Board)

Dimension 4: Implementation policies

  • DK has restarted its work to inform and support immigrants' political participation, after subsidies were cut for immigrant civil society in 2002 (though not for other under-represented groups like women and the disabled)
  • Targeted information and funds to increase immigrants' civic and political participation are provided by most Nordic and Northern European countries, CA, KR, NZ and PT
  • A 2014 Dialogue, Citizenship and Ethnic Equality Fund intended to fund projects to increase immigrants' participation in elections, volunteering and civil society (see also new fund in Aarhus)
  • Voter turnout slightly increased after 'New Danes' were informed about their local and regional voting rights through 20 election meetings and multi-lingual materials, including a dialogue tool, under campaigns like 'Alles Valg' (Everyone's choice) led by government and involving many NGOs

Policy Box

Aarhus replaced its Integration Council with a Citizenship Committee in 2014 in order to increase ethnic minorities and ordinary citizens' opportunities to influence local decisions. The Committee includes equal numbers of politicians (one from each party) and citizens (randomly selected and representative in terms of age, gender, education, ethnicity and place of residence). Until December 2015, the Committee can work with local organisations to make proposals on the local citizenship policy, inclusion of ethnic minorities, engagement with the public and spending of local participation budgets. 

Real beneficiaries

How many non-EU immigrants are eligible to vote?

Local and regional voting rights are important for maintaining DK as a partially inclusive democracy. These voting rights give the possibility to vote to an estimated 84% of non-EU resident adults in DK, according to 2011/2 estimates. Inclusive voting rights in DK and elsewhere lead to higher shares of enfranchised non-EU citizens. This local democracy may boost non-EU citizens' long-term civic and political engagement and the responsiveness of politicians to local needs. However, around half of non-EU immigrant adults are disenfranchised in DK national elections, where many decisions are taken that affect their daily life. Democracy is inclusive in many municipalities, but not yet at national level in DK (similar gap in EE, FI, IE and LU, see instead BE, NL NO, PT, SE).

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become politically active?

  • Around 1/4 of non-EU immigrants are university-educated
  • Majority of non-EU immigrants from low-to-medium developed countries 
  • Generally high levels of civic engagement in Nordics
  • Most long-settled, but half not yet DK citizens
  • Sizeable number of humanitarian migrants in Nordics likely to become politically active in the long-term

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants participating in political life?

Around 40% of long-settled (10+ years) non-EU-born adults in DK are participating politically in some way, according to European Social Survey data from the 2000s. These participation includes taking part in a political party, association, petition, demonstration or contacting a politician. These non-EU-born were 25% less likely to participate politically than the highly active DK-born. The level was higher and gap lower for university-educated non-EU-born (60% active, 10% less likely than university-educated DK-born) than for the low-educated (24% active, 40% less likely than low-educated DK-born). In contrast, settled non-EU immigrants' level of political participation was higher in IE, NO and SE and lower in countries like AT and DE.

Permanent Residence

Key Findings

Non-EU citizens only now able to improve their integration through permanent residence in DK, following reform of  decades-long restrictions and recent 'points-system'  

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become long-term residents?

Most non-EU immigrants have lived in DK long enough to become permanent residents, according to 2011/2 estimates. Over 3/4 could be permanent residents in DK, as in most European countries. Eligibility is slightly higher among men (79%) than women (71%), partly because women are more likely to arrive later as family migrants.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?

After many restrictions and reversals in recent years, most non-EU residents are now eligible after 5 years for a relatively demanding but supportive path to permanent residence and near-equal rights as citizens in DK, similar to the other Nordic countries. The path to permanent residence is slightly favourable for integration in DK, ranking 3rd, alongside FI, NO, SE and a few other European countries. Before the 2011 elections, decades-long restrictions meant that non-EU residents faced the some of the most restrictive and increasingly discretionary requirements in order to become permanent residents without equal social rights as DK citizens. DK was the only country requiring a 'points-based system' for all residents to secure their residence (scrapped in UK as complicated and bureaucratic). 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • The eligibility rules remain favourable for integration in DK
  • Non-EU residents faced an exceptionally long wait before 2010 (7 years), a shorter wait typical of Nordic countries after 2011 (4 years) and now the average 5-year-wait common to most European countries
  • Nearly all non-EU residents are eligible to become permanent residents, with special rules for retirees, the disabled and long-settled refugees

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • Under the 2011 'points-system', eligible immigrants faced some of the most restrictive requirements in the developed world (similar to only CY, GR, MT), which were demanding integration without supporting immigrants to succeed
  • Non-EU immigrants had to pay disproportionately high fees and prove their long-term economic integration (full-time employment for 2.5/3 years), active citizenship and DK language skills at the highest level in Europe 
  • Since 2012, the centre-left government reverted back to slightly more realistic requirements that better support and recognise most immigrants' investment in their integration 
  • Immigrants now have to prove fluency at Danish 1 level fluency (A2) through free courses and tests for all since 2013 (including online Dansk since 2011), their respect of DK's laws, their willingness to integrate, and 3 years of work, study or care-giving
  • The procedure is again free, but only now for family migrants and refugees 
  • Most other countries require no criminal record, A2-level language fluency, a basic income from any legal source, a fee below 160 euros and no additional proof of 'integration'

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • The complicated points-based system made immigrants and refugees more insecure in their status 
  • Its 2012 repeal returned to DK's previous procedure, already more uncertain than in most European countries
  • Authorities promise but do not guarantee that the procedure will be clear and short, a problem across the Nordics
  • Permanent residents can lose their status on several grounds, including >1 year in their previous country 
  • While withdrawal and expulsion decisions are supposed to take their personal circumstances into account and subject to appeal, no vulnerable group is fully protected from expulsion (see other Nordics, BE, FR)

Dimension 4: Rights Associated

  • Repealing 'Start Help' and benefit restrictions in 2011 gave permanent residents the same socio-economic rights to pursue their integration as citizens in DK and in 29 other MIPEX countries
  • Before this repeal, DK was the only European country other than TU to restrict social rights for permanent residents

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are long-term residents?

In 2014, DK was home to around 5000 permanent residents under national law. These numbers had been similar in 2013 and nearly doubled comared to previous years (e.g. 2008-2012). 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become long-term residents?

  • Most residents are long-settled in DK
  • Mostly humanitarian or family migrants likely to settle in US and Northwest Europe
  • Main option to secure residence for long-settled residents and 2nd generation in countries like DK with restrictive naturalisation policies

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become long-term residents?

Hardly any non-EU citizens in DK have been able to become permanent residents over the years, with numbers only increasing after the 2012 reforms. Permanent residents made up just 1% of non-EU citizens in 2013 and then 2% in 2014. In contrast, around 45% of non-EU citizens across Europe have become permanent residents, according to 2013 data from 28 European countries. The majority (2/3) are permanent residents in the major destinations (FR, IT, ES, SE, UK) as well as near-majorities in AT and DE. Around 1/4 are permanent residents in GR, RO and the Benelux, while hardly any (1-6%) are in BG, CY, DK, IE and MT. The few permanent residents in DK and other restrictive countries (e.g. BG, IE) do not resemble the rest of the non-EU population in terms of their age, gender and nationality.

The number of permanent residents strongly reflects countries' path to permanent residence and citizenship. New countries of immigration with restrictive residence policies allow for very few permanent residents (e.g. CY, GR, IE, MT). Longstanding destinations that restrict residence and naturalisation eventually end up with high numbers of permanently resident foreigners, including their children born in the country (e.g. DK, AT, CH). 

Access to Nationality

Key Findings

Following international trends, significant reforms bring access to DK citizenship up to average for Western Europe

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become a citizen?

Only around half of the non-EU citizens meeting the 9-year-residence requirement have naturalised as DK citizens, according to 2011/2 estimates. A comparatively high share (around 17% of non-EU citizen adults) were second generation who were born and raised in DK but not yet its citizens.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become citizens?

By following international trends, DK's 2013 and 2014 reforms significantly improved immigrants' path to citizenship (+23 points), which is now similar to policies in most Western European countries. Over the past decade, MIPEX has documented the exceptionally restrictive naturalisation requirements for immigrants in DK. Immigrants and their children can now benefit from dual nationality, new entitlements and more flexible requirements. Still, many immigrants may be discouraged from applying by several remaining restrictions and the procedure itself. 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • Law 1456/2013 made the eligibility rules slightly favourable for integration, as children raised and educated in DK are now entitled to become DK citizens (similar entitlements in now 18 MIPEX countries, birthright citizenship in DK was removed in 1976)
  • Still, the wait is unfavourably long for ordinary adult permanent residents (9 years) and spouses of DK citizens (6), especially compared to other countries (on average 7 and 3-5 respectively)

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • The 9253/2013 Circular Letter provided a little relief and support for applicants to meet some of DK's most onerous requirements
  • The fee, good character and criminal record requirements are average for Europe
  • All immigrants now receive enough free courses and study/e-learning materials to reach the language level, lowered from the highest in Europe (B2) to the high end (B1)
  • Immigrants do not receive the same level of support to pass the citizenship test
  • The income/welfare requirements are still among the most restrictive in Europe
  • Half of the MIPEX countries do not impose such citizenship tests, welfare exclusions and high language requirements

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • Only in DK and a few CH cantons do parliaments still have to vote on ordinary applications (see recent 2012 BE reform to eliminate inefficient role for BE parliament)
  • Applicants are confronted with a final parliamentary-based decision that is discretionary, without legal time limit or full rights of appeal (unlike in now 31 MIPEX countries)

Dimension 4: Dual nationality

  • Soon immigrants applying to become DK citizens will not be asked to renounce their former citizenship, thanks to the 2014 passage of Bill N.44 amending the Danish Nationality Act (see box)
  • DK continues the recent global trend towards embracing dual nationality (25 MIPEX countries, most recently CZ and PL)
  • Internationally, dual nationality is becoming harder to avoid and easier to regulate

Policy Box

The left-of-centre coalition took three years to gather evidence and consensus for its campaign promises on citizenship reform. A 2012 government panel and 2014 report concluded that dual nationality should not be limited to citizens of only EU/NATO Member States, due to the non-discrimination standards in the European Convention on Nationality. The report concluded that dual nationality had limited ramifications when adopted in other countries, such as SE in 2001. The government argued that dual nationality and citizenship entitlements for children bring many benefits and few risks for a modern society.

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are becoming citizens?

Only 3268 non-EU citizens became DK citizens in 2012. Over the past decade, the total number of naturalisations fell following restrictions in 2002 and 2004, from aound 18,000 in 2002 to around 6,000 in 2003, 10,000-14,000 in 2004-5 and then around 4,000 per year in 2010-2012.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?

  • Most from low-or-medium developed countries
  • Many humanitarian or family migrants likely to settle
  • Over 2/3 from countries allowing dual nationality
  • Large number of 2nd generation without DK citizenship

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become citizens?

DK's citizenship policies are largely responsible for one of the lowest naturalisation rates for non-EU citizens in Western Europe (1.5 in 2012) alongside AT, CY, IT. Less than one in two non-EU-born adults have become DK citizens, according to 2011/2 estimates. These rates were some of the most inequitable in Western Europe, meaning that naturalising citizens did not look much like the overall non-EU population in terms of their age, nationality and gender. Naturalisation was much less common among women, the elderly over 65 and a variety of nationalities in DK than in other European countries. These reforms, especially acceptance of dual nationality, are likely to boost naturalisation rates for those immigrants able to meet the legal requirements.

Anti-discrimination

Key Findings

Equality bodies and policies with new powers still need to widen protections for potential discrimination victims and help more to start accessing justice

Potential Beneficiaries

Who said they experienced racial/ethnic or religious discrimination last year?

According to the latest comparable data (2012), 2.4% of people in DK felt that they had been discriminated against or harassed based on their ethnic origin (1.8%) and/or religion/beliefs (1.2%). Discrimination exists in DK as across Europe, although this share of potential victims is relatively low (similar to SE) compared to most other European countries (4.5-7%).

Policy Indicators

Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?

Potential victims of discrimination continue to benefit from minor improvements in DK's laws and policies to fight discrimination, mirroring European reform trends. 
Victims enjoy average access to redress such as binding mediation decisions, stronger equality bodies and, since 2014, the DK government's first dedicated anti-discrimination unit. However, DK's anti-discrimination laws and policies are weaker than in 26 out of the 37 other countries (similar to AT, DE, LU, ES, far behind the other Nordics, NL, UK) Unlike in 16 countries, nationality discrimination is still not explicitly prohibited in all areas of public life in DK, even if this ground is critical to ensure equal opportunities in countries of immigration. DK governments have been slowly improving DK's other main weaknesses: its comparatively weak equality bodies and state obligations to promote equality. 

Dimension 1: Definitions

  • DK prohibits discrimination under several laws, including the Ethnic Equal Treatment Act (2003, updated 2012) and the Labour Market Discrimination Prohibition Act (1996, updated 2008)
  • As in most countries, a wide range of actors in DK cannot discriminate against a person on several grounds, including race, ethnicity, religion and national or social orgin (except nationality, see 22 other MIPEX countries)
  • Victims in DK could also be better protected from racial/ethnic profiling, including by the police, as well as multiple discrimination  (see countries such as FR, DE, NL, UK, SE, traditional destination countries)

Dimension 2: Fields of application

  • All people are protected from racial, ethnic and religious discrimination in public life in DK, as in 29 other MIPEX countries
  • In addition, people are protected from nationality discrimination in all areas of public life in 16 countries e.g. FI, SE, UK (and in some areas in AT, DE, NL, AU, NZ)

Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms

  • Potential victims can seek justice though slightly favourable mechanisms to enforce the law in DK, slightly below average for Western Europe
  • They can bring forward a case in civil, criminal and administrative procedures and some can benefit from shifts in the burden of proof, situation testing, financial assistance and free interpreters, as in most countries
  • NGOs and trade unions can pursue class actions and engage in proceedings on victims' behalf, as in an increasing majority of countries
  • However available sanctions are still limited in discrimination cases

Dimension 4: Equality policies

  • DK has started to strengthen its equality bodies and policies to better help people know their rights, access justice and enjoy equal opportunities in public services and jobs
  • Established in 2009, the Board of Equal Treatment can engage in judicial proceedings on behalf of complainants on many grounds of discrimination
  • The Danish Institute for Human Rights works as the specialised equality body giving independent advice to victims (with its independence and monitoring role re-confirmed in 2012 act)
  • Since April 2008, the Danish Administration of Justice Act allows voluntary mediation of conflicts in civil judicial proceedings
  • Bodies in other countries have greater powers to instigate their own investigations and proceedings in their own name (e.g. FR, NO, NL, SE, English-speaking countries)
  • DK government developed its first equality policies through its 1st dedicated anti-discrimination unit in 2014
  • New unit is responsible to inform and dialogue with the public, NGOs and social partners about discrimination and the law and coordinate government activities
  • Countries leading on equality oblige government to promote equality throughout its work, hiring and contracts (e.g. FI, NO, SE, UK, traditional destination countries)

Real beneficiaries

How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?

The number of discrimination complaints to equality bodies is the one available indicator of how often people report discrimination in different countries, given that other types of discrimination cases are rarely recorded by police and justice systems. Indeed, statistics are not registered on civil discrimination cases in DK. In 2013, the DIHR recorded 26 inquiries about cases of ethnic/racial discrimination, while the Equal Treatment Board received 55 complaints about ethnic/racial discrimination and 4 about religious discrimination. The Board reached 26 decisions on ethnic discrimination and its compensations usually amount to around 25000 DKK (3350€). These numbers are only one indication of discrimination reporting.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether potential victims report discrimination cases

  • 1/2 of general public in DK know their rights as discrimination victims 
  • High levels of trust in police and justice system in Nordics
  • Majority of non-EU immigrants are long-settled in DK and thus more included to report discrimination cases
  • Half of non-EU immigrants are not naturalised in DK and thus less likely to report 

Outcome indicators

How many complaints were made last year for every person who said they experienced racial/ethnic and religious discrimination?

Few complaints are made compared to the large number of people reportly experiencing incidents of racial/ethnic or religious discrimination. Complaints seem to be more common in the countries with stronger, longstanding and well-resourced anti-discrimination laws and bodies; 1 complaint is received for approximately every 150-400 people experiencing ethnic or religious discrimination in BE, FR, NL, IE and SE. In contrast, only about 1 inquiry or complaint is made to DK's equality bodies for every 1000 people reportedly experiencing racial/ethnic or religious discrimination. Hardly any complaints seem to be made across Europe, especially Central Europe. What is clear is that most countries need to do more to enforce and resource their anti-discrimination laws in order to guarantee the same access to justice for potential discrimination victims as they do for victims of other crimes and illegal acts. 

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