You are reading issue #1 in the series Ukraine.
The treatment of Ukrainian refugees by the public authorities in Denmark
Jobcenter.watch (an organization commited to tracking corruption in the labor market) have been informed of numerous cases of human rights violations pertaining to the treatment of Ukrainian refugees by the Danish authorities — namely the municipal system.
We bring here the full text of this inquiry, together with two previous press releases and an appendix.
War-injured refugees (both soldiers and civilians), who have been invited to Denmark by the EU to receive treatment, must often travel back to Ukraine due to refusal by the Danish health authorities to treat or rehabilitate them. Read specific stories in the appendix below (page 11).
It is common practice for the Danish municipalities (kommuner) to threaten to put Ukrainian refugees on the street if they do not accept the apartment prescribed by the municipality. This despite the fact that rules exist forbidding municipalities to offer housing that is too expensive compared to people's income. When a municipality breaks these rules, refugees often have no choice but to return to a war-torn country because becoming homeless is the only alternative.
Refugees experience additional stress on the Danish labor market. It is normal to use refugees as a source of cheap or free labour — in spite of existing rules that vulnerable groups must be compensated according to a collective agreement — whether this applies to Danes in "flexible" jobs (involving reduced hours and special safety considerations) or refugees in regular jobs. Refugees only have DKK 2,900 per month (a little over 400 USD) in disposable income after tax and rent are paid. This is only enough for food. Refusing an offer of unpaid work, or missing Danish language lessons for some reason, results in application of additional economical penalties. Some refugees are refused benefits altogether, and must travel back to their homeland.
Danish authorities are "forgetting" that Ukrainian refugees find themselves in a fundamentally insecure situation insofar as their residence permit is not permanent. No penalties or additional pressures can be justified until their situation is resolved at this basic level. It is therefore a grave mistake to charge a good, caring mother as guilty based on gaps in legislation enacted by the Parliament, and force her to consent to a placement of her children (page 17 in the appendix). And it is an unforgivable mistake to use people's fear of consequences to authorize something that refugees would never agree to had they been in a less vulnerable position.
The issue is aggravated in that the mainstream Danish media do not cover these incidents; the majority of the population is left unaware of what is going on in their own country.
25 September 2023: Ukrainian refugees are let down and forced into illegal work in the Danish system (Danish).
Previous press releases
21 November 2021: Ukrainian soldiers had to send money to wives and children on the run in Denmark.
Refugees must be paid in accordance with the collective agreement, and this is an advantage for Denmark: PDF (Danish).
For additional inquiries, contact us here.