Posted on September 29, 2005

Immigration Minister In Retreat

Copenhagen Post, Sept. 29

Pressure from the Danish People’s Party has prompted Liberal Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshøj to put her plans to ease immigration rules for certain students on hold

Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshøj is halting her plans to ease Denmark’s strict family reunification policy for certain groups, after fierce criticism from the Danish People’s Party (DF), the minority government’s support party.

Hvilshøj announced on Tuesday that young people studying in fields where Denmark lacks workers would be exempt from the strictest of the country’s immigration barriers.

Hvilshøj said medical, IT, nursing, and other students in the natural sciences would no longer be forced to comply with the rule requiring that spouses be over 24-years old to immigrate to Denmark. Neither would they need to prove that they have stronger ties to Denmark than any other country.

Both rules were implemented by the Liberal-Conservative government as a way to stop arranged and pro-forma marriages amongst ethnic minorities and have been the subject of heated debate in Denmark and abroad.

DF’s integration spokesman Jesper Langballe called her proposal ‘stark raving mad’ and asked for an urgent meeting.

‘Nobody knows if you’re really a student just because you’ve signed up for an academic program for one year,’ he told daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.

Hvilshøj agreed to hold the meeting on Monday.