Until recently, the formal aim of the government's refugee policy was to help people have a decent life. The new right-wing government in Denmark has once and for all broken with this principle. The main purpose of the proposed "foreigners-law" is to accept as few refugees into the country as possible. This cynical aim is not just the dream of the extremely right-wing Danish People's Party. It is the main goal of three in the new law. The proposed law published on January 16 puts forward three goals for the new foreigners policy:

  1. To limit the number of refugees and foreigners who get asylum or permission to stay.
  2. To follow international conventions and rules.
  3. To ensure a better integration of refugees and immigrants in Denmark.

The first goal will be difficult to achieve for the simple reason that the old government has tightened the law and limited the opportunities for refugees to get asylum so much that very drastic methods must be employed. The bourgeois government and the Danish People's Party are willing to do that.

One of the methods used to bring down the numbers of refugees in Denmark is to make it very hard to get recognized as a "de facto" refugee. This means people who are not personally oppressed for political, ethnical or religious reasons. That could mean people who refuse military service and could be sentenced to 15-20 years in jail, or a woman who would be punished in inhumane ways for adultery in Iran for example. They will not be given asylum in Denmark.

Another way by which the government wants to decrease the number of refugees is to extend the waiting period for permanent permission to stay. That means that a refugee will have to wait 7 years to get full permission to stay. Until then, you can be thrown out of the country. This is a totally inhumane and horrible way of treating people.

In the 1930s the Danish government was sending German Jews and members of the Communist Party back to Germany if they could not make enough money to support themselves. Now with this new proposal, the same rules are coming back to hit the immigrants of today. A refugee or an immigrant who wants his wife to come to Denmark must prove to the authorities that he earns enough money to support two people, he must be over 24 years of age and must prove that he has stronger "bonds" to Denmark than the country he fled from. It is common for a family that flees for the husband to go first, and then he can get the rest of the family out later. It is clearly a cruel proposal that will let people be tortured, brutally oppressed and even left to die.

The new proposal breaks with all the principles that characterise a welfare state. In itself it is absurd that a person is not allowed to choose who they will marry. Besides it is an example of how the bourgeois government attempts to destroy traditions of solidarity that say that social rights do not depend on the size of your wallet.

A living for £5.80?

The Danish government will now force the unemployed immigrants to live for 70 Danish krone a day. That is approximately £5.80 ($8.20). Of course they tell us that it is to "motivate" the unemployed immigrants to get a job. Of course this is absurd. There are not enough jobs for everyone, and there will not be until we get rid of capitalism.

The result of the low welfare payments for immigrants will be to force many into desperation and criminality. And perhaps more importantly, in desperation the immigrants will take work for low wages and thereby help the capitalists lower wage levels.

The government wants to make special low-wage rate for unemployed people. They will reduce the wage to around 20%-35% for "persons, for example refugees and immigrants who have difficulties in getting a place in the work-market." That is a full-scale crusade against the workers' organisations and their rights. The employers will, if the new proposal is passed, be able to hire people on reduced wages for a year "to prove their worth", and afterwards discard them without paying any redundancy payments.

The global economic downturn is getting its grip on Denmark. When capitalists can hire the unemployed for 65% of the full wage, they will be preferred to other workers. And the trade unions under the leadership of the bureaucrats will be forced into a defensive position, not demanding better conditions for the false reason of "competition". The bourgeois government will force workers to compete with other workers on still-lower wage levels. And still there will be unemployment. Only a genuine Marxist leadership of the workers' organisations and absolute unity can overcome the cutbacks, the competition of misery, and the racist laws. Capitalism has absolutely no solution for the workers but harder work and lower wages. Only the socialist revolution can once and for all free the working class from this nightmare.

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