Corona virus COVID-19 crisis is deepening as the death toll is rising along the economic recession. Unemployment rates are increasing around the world. Denmark is no different as the new figures shows three times higher unemployment rates compare to last years. Despite the Govt package companies opt to shutdown and send their employees home.
A total of 42,847 people have registered as unemployed in the period from 9th to 24th March, according to a statement from the National Board of Labor and Employment. Only on Tuesday 24th March, 3,096 people registered as unemployed.
Hundreds of immigrants in Denmark are among those who have lost their jobs while thousands are staying home. According to an online survey, out of 623 immigrant participants 63 have stated that they have been fired from their jobs after the corona crisis. Similarly, 315 immigrants out of 623 participants of survey are told by employers to stay home until further notice. These Immigrants e.g. green card holders are required to show an annual income of DKK 317,681 (Styrelsen for International Rekruttering og Integration SIRI calculation) to extend their visa. Similarly, those who have to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) permit has to show an annual income of DKK 292,256 (SIRI Calculation 2020 level) and should have a continuous work from last 4 years with 120 hours per month. Under current circumstances, fulfilling the income and work requirement is almost impossible.
Though the Govt has announced a generous package for employers and employees but that still does not address the immigrants concerns. Immigrants stay in Denmark will still be at risk as their annual income will still be way less than required for visa extension, PR and Family reunification applications.
The reasons why Govt package will not help these immigrants are;
1. Two jobs: Income requirement for visa extension, PR and family reunification is too high that many immigrants have been doing two jobs. In most cases one job is usually a part time job or two jobs with part time contract. In current crisis most of these part time jobs have vanished and these employees are straight away fired. This means that they will not be able to benefit from Govt package which will leave them with zero income. One of immigrants (who remains anonymous) has been doing two part-time jobs for over two and half years in a bid to eventually apply for PR. But she was fired from both of these jobs last week. Despite having two children, she is not eligible to any compensation from Govt. This will not only affect her family financial situation but she will also not be able to apply for PR in next few years. Immigrants who are going to apply for visa extension may risk their stay in Denmark under current situation as they will not be able to fulfill income and work requirements despite many of them have lived here for years and fulfilled all other requirements.
2. Companies can not pay 25%: The current crisis are so deep that many companies are not even able to pay the 25% of employees salary and have thus already fired their employees. Immigrants fired from these firms neither can get Govt package nor can find another job during these crisis. They will thus not be able to fulfil income and work requirements and might be deported to their home countries.
3. Most effected Industries: Tourism, resturants and hotel industries are few which are most effected by the corona crisis. Many of the immigrants who have been working in restaurants, tourism or hotel industry have been already fired and told that they will not receive govt compensations. A green card holder (who do not want to be named) have been working in tourism industry from last 5 years, is told on Monday 16th March to stay home until further notice from employer as there is no work. It will be hard for him to find another job in the current crisis. His visa extension is due in December this year for which he has to show last 12 months’ income. It will be unfair to ask him to show DKK 317,681 annual income.
4. Retail and Commission based businesses: In many of the retail and commission based businesses, employees salaries are made up of their basic salary plus commission on sale. For example one of the immigrant who works at a clothing store in a shopping centre in Copenhagen have been fulfilling income requirements after getting her basic salary plus commission on sale. Since businesses are lockdown, she have been told that she will receive the Govt. announced package but will not receive the commission. It will reduce her annual income and her visa extension will be at risk when she applies for extension.
Thousands of immigrants will be at risk of losing their visas or rejection of their PR or family reunification applications if income and work requirements are not relaxed for all those who have been the victim of these crisis. Considering current situation, Govt must come up with a legislations to waive the income and work requirement for visa extension, PR and family reunification applicants during these crisis.