Fewer Immigrants Than Predicted (Denmark)

Fewer immigrants than predicted
The Copenhagen Post
November 30, 2006

Lower immigration rates resulting from stricter policies will force the government to re-evaluate its social welfare reforms

A new study by an independent analysis firm has found that predictions of soaring increases in the percentage of immigrants living in Denmark were a serious over-assessment.

In 2001, the government's commission on social welfare reform forecast that immigrants from non-Western countries would rise to 18 percent of Denmark's population by 2080. At that time, the group made up 5 percent of the population.

Figures from the DREAM analysis institute suggest that the number of immigrants will only rise to 8 percent by 2080.

Lars Haagen Pedersen, DREAM's head researcher, told daily newspaper Information that the new estimates would lead to a change in the predicted effects immigration will have on the nation's economy.

'Considered alone, we can say that the prediction will improve the continuity of financial policy.'

Pedersen said that the lower immigration figure will result in billions being saved in funding for public aid and necessitate a change in the government's employment policies toward immigrants.

Just last year, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed all of the commission's findings, save one: that one of the greatest challenges for the welfare state was putting immigrants and their Danish-born children to work.

Stricter immigration policies implemented by the current government have cut off the stream of immigrants and asylum seekers flowing to Denmark, according to Pedersen.

'It is first and foremost the immigration legislation passed in May 2002 that's to blame for the falling numbers of asylum seekers and Danish marriages to foreigners.'

Pedersen added that immigrant women are also having fewer children than in the past.

The most recent figures from Statistics Denmark indicate that immigrants and their children make up 8.7 percent of the population, while those from non-Western countries make up 6.1 percent.