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Denmark plans to make some migrants work full time in order to be given benefits, officials have announced.
Immigrants who have been on benefits for between three to four years will be expected to complete 37-hour week jobs, including removing litter from beaches, employment minister Peter Hummelgaard said.
Prime minister Mette Frederiksen added the policy, which still needs approval from parliamentarians, was targeted at “non-Western background” women who were claiming welfare.
The rule will only apply to migrants who are not proficient in the Danish language to a certain level.
Frederiksen said: "We want to introduce a new work logic where people have a duty to contribute and be useful, and if they can't find a regular job, they have to work for their allowance.
"For too many years we have done a disservice to a lot of people by not demanding anything of them.”
She added: "It is basically a problem when we have such a strong economy, where the business community demands labour, that we then have a large group, primarily women with non-Western backgrounds, who are not part of the labour market.”
The Danish government said 60% of female migrants from North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East are unemployed.
The new rules have been criticised by the country’s left-wing party Unity List.
Unity List spokeswoman Mai Villadsen told broadcaster TV2: “I'm afraid this will end up as state-supported social dumping, sending people into crazy jobs.”
Denmark has one of Europe’s harshest stances on immigration and is aiming for zero asylum applications.
In June, the Scandinavian country passed a law enabling it to process asylum seekers outside Europe, drawing anger from the United Nations and the European Commission.
The new law will allow Denmark to move refugees arriving on Danish soil to asylum centres in a partner country to have their cases reviewed and possibly obtain protection in that country.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned last month that Denmark’s move could trigger a “race to the bottom” if other countries followed suit.
The number of refugees seeking asylum in Denmark dropped steadily to just over 1,500 applicants last year from a peak of more than 21,000 in 2015 when more than a million refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa made it to the EU.
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