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Asylum seekers hope to work

Quazeem, an Afghani asylum seeker in centre Auderød, has a bachelor degree in medicine, but would be willing to take a job at a standard lower than that of his education. “I would prefer to take any job that will make me wake up in the morning and go to work just like a normal human being and not be kept in a camp and given pocket money every two weeks.”

Wants to be useful
David, another asylum seeker in Sandholm, has just been released from the closed camp. The Danish police had caught him while he was working. “I knew that I was not allowed to work as an asylum seeker in Denmark, but I wanted to be useful to the society just like every other person,” he said, ”Being in the camp and not being allowed to work makes me feel like an animal being locked up in a cage left in a forest surrounded by animals.”

MP wants changes
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, MP for the Unity List – the Red-Green Alliance says: “It is best for the asylum seekers and for the Danish society that asylum seekers are allowed to work and live in normal flats and houses outside the asylum centres, and that their children go to school with Danish children at ordinary Danish schools ”.

Criteria is important
It is vital for her that a new system is not perceived by unemployed Danes as a system that takes jobs away from the Danes and gives them to the asylum seekers, especially with the current rate of unemployment .

“The criteria according to which an asylum seeker is qualified is important: I.e. to what extent does he or she have to cooperate with the Danish authorities? Is it a precondition that the asylum seeker sign a declaration for leaving the country on the first possible occasion? If the wording of the preconditions is too strict, we are afraid that hardly any asylum seeker will be part of a new system of housing and working outside the asylum centres,” says Schmidt-Nielsen.

Save more, spend less
According to Danish Immigration Service it costs approximately 17.600 DKK (Euros 2367) per month to keep the average asylum seeker. Denmark expects to spend around 1 billion DKK on keeping asylum seekers this year.

If the asylum seekers were given the opportunity to work and pay taxes, the government would save more and spend less. The asylum seekers would not need to be supported by the taxpayer, but instead could share and build their skills, pay taxes and spend money in the community while awaiting the resolution of their cases.

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