Denmark’s controversial new law forcing migrants to hand over cash and jewellery didn’t raise a single penny in its first week
- Police have had power to confiscate valuables over £1,000 since Feb 5
- But officers have not seized a single item or even one krone in that time
- Law condemned because of its comparison to treatment of Jews by Nazis
- Lack of confiscations ‘could be seen as attempt to avoid further criticism’
A controversial new law forcing migrants in Denmark to hand over cash and valuables to fund their benefits didn’t raise a single penny in its first week.
Danish police have had the power to confiscate money and other belongings above 10,000 kroner (£1,025) since February 5.
But not a single item or even one kroner has been seized since the bill – dubbed the ‘jewellery law’ –came into effect, police have admitted.
In a statement to Metroxpress, the Danish National Police said: ‘The so-called jewellery law at the current time has not given rise to the confiscation of cash or valuables.’
The law has been condemned by the UN and international media because of its comparisons to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany who had gold and valuables seized by Hitler’s regime.
The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority last month, with the main centre-left opposition Social Democrats voting in favour as Denmark’s political landscape shifts to the right thanks to the popularity of anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party.
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen from the left-wing Red-Green Alliance said: ‘I think it is obvious that this law is a signal more than anything else.
‘But I think that (the Integration Minister) and the government are quite satisfied with this because wasn’t the primary goal to tell the world that Denmark is not a nice place to be as a refugee?’
Marketing expert Michael Ulveman said the lack of confiscations could be seen as an attempt to deflect international criticism, it was reported by The Local.
He told Metroxpress: ‘It’s obvious that the most damaging thing would be if the international media reported that the Danish state was shovelling in money by selling refugees’ valuables.
‘That would be the worst nightmare from a communications standpoint.’
Lawmakers in Copenhagen hope the bill will reduce the influx of migrants.
Police organise a line of refugees on the stairway leading up from the trains arriving from Denmark at the Hyllie train station outside Malmo, Sweden. Denmark had previously been seen as more of a thoroughfare until Sweden introduced a cap on migrants, meaning more asylum seekers are now staying Denmark.
Denmark had previously been seen as more of a thoroughfare, with many refugees passing through on their way to Sweden.
However, in December, the Swedish government introduced a cap on migrants and mandatory ID-checks on its borders, meaning more people have stayed in Denmark.
Under the new bill, Danish police can search luggage of asylum seekers and seize cash exceeding 10,000 kroner (£1,025) as well as any individual items valued at more than that amount.
Wedding rings and other items of sentimental value will be exempt.
Others measures include making it harder to bring family members to Denmark once they have a right to remain.
Being a refugee – fleeing war but not individual persecution – will not longer qualify for the highest form of protection status under Danish law and they will have to wait three years instead of one year before applying for family reunification.
Once the application has been filed, the process can take years and refugees would have to pay the transportation costs of family members they bring to the country.
The waiting time has prompted allegations that Denmark will violate the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Refugee Convention.
Several organisations, including the UN High Commission for Refugees also censured the Nordic country for the proposals.
The Danish government has defended the move to seize valuables, saying the same rules apply for all Danish citizens who wish to qualify for social benefits.
‘We are saying that if you want to come to Europe you should stay clear of Denmark,’ said Martin Henriksen, a spokesman for the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, last month.