COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s new right-wing government said on Wednesday it would slash benefits for asylum seekers to bring down the number of refugees coming to the country.
“The effect will hopefully be that fewer asylum seekers come to Denmark,” Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said at a press conference.
Under the new rules, which will come into effect from September, an asylum seeker without children will receive 5,945 kroner (797 euros, $882) per month in benefits, almost half the 10,849 kroner they receive currently.
Single parents arriving from a non-EU country will receive 11,888 kroner per month compared to 14,426 kroner now.
And couples with children who can currently claim 28,832 kroner will see their monthly benefits cut to 16,638 kroner under the new rules.
A 1,500-kroner monthly bonus will also be offered to those whose Danish language skills meet the standards required for taking a job or getting an education.
“We want to reward the people who come here and wish to become integrated,” Stojberg said.
The new rules, expected to be passed by parliament on Friday, will also hit unemployed Danes who have been outside the country for seven out of the eight past years.
A narrow right-wing government took power in Denmark on Sunday after coalition talks with the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP) broke down, but it needs the support of the DPP and other groups to pass legislation in parliament.
The governing Venstre party campaigned on lowering benefits for asylum seekers after the former center-left government raised them, which the right-wing party claimed was prompting more refugees to come to Denmark.
On Tuesday the Danish government announced it would reimpose border controls to combat illegal immigration and smuggling, another key issue for the DPP. The government said the new measures would be carried out in line with the Euro- pean Union’s open-border Schengen Agreement.
Denmark received nearly 15,000 asylum seekers last year, almost twice the number from 2013 as more people fleeing Syria’s civil war fled to Europe.