Integration Act, as amended October 2017 (Unofficial translation)
Bekendtgørelse af lov om integration af udlændinge i Danmark (integrationsloven) (Original language title)
The Act on the Integration of Aliens in Denmark was amended on 11 October 2017 (LBK nr 1127 af 11/10/2017). The amendment incorporates changes to the Integration Act from the past few years, and simplifies and adjusts the rules of distribution and housing of refugees while clarifying who is eligible for Danish classes.
The object of the Integration Act is to ensure that newly arrived aliens are given the possibility of using their abilities and resources to become involved and contributing citizens on an equal footing with other citizens of society and according to the fundamental values and norms of Danish society. The Act contains chapters on, among other subjects:
- Housing of refugees
- The integration programme for refugees and family-reunified aliens
- The introduction course for immigrants
- The duty to exploit work opportunities
- Assistance in special cases
- Payment of assistance and repayment
- Citizenship test
- Integration councils and the council for ethnic minorities
Among the changes in the recent amendments are: Local governments should no longer find housing for aliens who change legal status from family-reunified to refugees. While local governments must provide suitable housing for refugee families, persons who apply for family reunification have to find suitable accommodation for their new, larger household on their own. Previously, applying for asylum and obtaining refugee status would make family-reunified persons eligible for suitable accommodations provided by the local government. After the change this is no longer the case.
A number of civil society organisations commented during the consultation phase of the new amendments: The Confederation of Danish Employers pointed out that they would have liked the 'simplification and adjustment' of the rules of dispersal and housing of refugees to imply that employment possibilities were given priority in the dispersal and housing of refugees. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) found that the provisions regarding (no longer) offering housing to persons who changed their legal status were unfair and not sufficiently reasoned. According to the DRC, family-reunified individuals may have good reasons to apply for asylum. The DRC found that the duty of local governments to offer permanent housing to refugees have been weakened despite permanent housing being crucial for the integration process of the individual refugee.