Denmark Implements Foreigner Tax

Denmark is just going for it and charging people to be from other countries.

Starting Jan 1, applying for a student, work or residency permit costs, in technical terms, a shitload. A family reunification visa (i.e. you’re Danish, you marry someone who isn’t and you want the whole family to live in Denmark) costs nearly 6,000 DKK, more than $1,000. A permanent residence application, which I was planning on making this year, costs $620. This is over and above the $300 that it costs to take the language test.

There’s no way around it: These fees aim, in the most primitive way possible, to discourage foreigners from coming to Denmark. Setting the fees so high sends a signal that the state believes it does not benefit from immigration in any way, and it is up to immigrants to recoup their own ‘costs’ at every stage of the process.

As someone who pays more than $2,000 every month in income taxes to the state, plus all the sales taxes on the goods and services I purchase, I find the sheer counterproductiveness of this to be the most offensive. It discourages precisely the ‘right’ kinds of immigrants–the ones that are economically empowered to pick between various countries to work in–while imposing a nearly unpayable fee on the people who don’t have as free a choice.

This comes on the back of a number of other troubling developments. The laws regarding spouse visas, for example, were recently tightened to require everyone to speak Danish and pass the citizenship test. So if you’re Danish, you fall in love with a Brazilian, she can’t move here until she (somehow) learns to speak Danish and can pass an utterly arbitrary multiple choice exam.

There’s also been discussion of how foreigners should ‘earn’ the rights to healthcare and education granted to Danes by birth. This week the government is considering proposals to deny student grants to foreigners.

This stuff is all, of course, totally illegal under Denmark’s commitments under EU and international law, not to mention its own constitution. But there’s a huge constituency that wants to make foreigners justify every kroner spent on basic government services that benefit them, while ignoring the massive entitlements Danes enjoy without any obligations.

So fuck it, i’m no longer planning on applying for permanent residency. I could afford it if I wanted to, but I’m not going to continue to support a country that ignores my economic contributions while forcing me to justify my enjoyment of basic services. Congratulations, Denmark: One less immigrant.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Denmark Implements Foreigner Tax

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Denmark Implements Foreigner Tax « Rottin' in Denmark -- Topsy.com

  2. Soren Holck Jensen

    I cry by the fact that this article is true true true…

    Please publish this picture if possible – we are still some people left in this country with hearts and empathy…

    FOREIGNERS, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US ALONE WITH THE DANES

    BTW: Use the EU rules to go around the stupid danish laws…

  3. Mike-

    Totally knew the Danes were not down with non-Danes. Naturally.

    Crazy new rules though. NL has the same thing happening with the ‘keep-the-foreigners-out’ & the ‘they-‘re taking-all-our-welfare!’ bit. Though I don’t think it is as bad as in NL, as it sounds up North.

    To bring someone to NL – if you are Dutch and your partner is not – it takes about 1000USD, or about 800 EUROS. So on 2nd thought make that MORE than 1,000USD.

    Though you don’t have to speak Dutch… yet.

  4. ps… you should still totally get that permanent residency… soon all perm res. permits become effective EU wide. So, you can always escape the North, for the slightly more foreigner-open south 😉

  5. I don’t know that I’d call the rules “primitive.” They actual seem like quite effective strategies at encouraging only the “right” sort of people to immigrate — that is to say, people from rich countries, people for whom the fees are not that onerous. Hopefully white people from a Christian background, but not annoying about the god thing. The only policy that would be more precise is to just put up a big MUSLIMER FORBUDT, MØRKHUDET MENNESKER FORBUDT sign at the airport.

    Though I’m not sure how effectively you’re going to spite the Danish government by denying yourself permanent residency. Even if you’re rewarding them as the “right” kind of immigrant, 1 more immigrant with permanent residency is still 1 more immigrant, proving you can exist without harming the Danish state… except via boyfriend.dk, maybe.

  6. This are a few wrong things indicated above — it doesn’t apply to anyone from the EU or Switzerland for example, and there’s a bunch of other exceptions — and it’s actually A LOT cheaper (and probably simpler) that the processing fees for US visas. There’s no doubting it’s designed to stem immigrants from the more “undesirable” countries though. I wondered how many other EU countries are doing this and it seems that the UK charges even more:

    http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/visafees/visafeeswork

    But, yeah, there is a lot more rhetoric surrounding this in Denmark. It is sad.

    (I am British have lived in Denmark and Switzerland and have recently gone through the US visa system.)

    • Brandon Mayo

      I was chatting with some foreign friends here in London this weekend about this post. They all said pretty much the same thing that Russell pointed out. It’s way more expensive to go through the hoops here than in Denmark. So moving to the UK is not a cheaper way into the EU. Hint, plz stay in Denmark! Or a happy compromise. Move to Malmö for the discounted Swedish version like Anne pointed out below and commute to Copenhagen for work.

      • Anne

        I suspect that part of Mike’s irritation is over the fact that these fees directly went to being so high after being (AFAIK, in most cases) nothing, and with very little warning. As he points out, people in DK pay a helluva lot in taxes, which theoretically are supposed to pay for these services. They did before, after all, right? No one wants “user fees” on anything in Denmark (http://politiken.dk/indland/ECE1180667/danskerne-vender-ryggen-til-brugerbetaling/), but it’s ok for foreigners, apparently.
        We had already decided to leave before these went into effect, and this sort of thing just makes us feel validated in that decision.

  7. Anne

    Yeaaaah… so glad I just escaped. They are so nice at Migrationsverket, I almost cried tears of joy. In Denmark they are now charging 1725DKK just to *renew* the family permits, too. So that’s basically 1725DKK every other year for unknown number of years. Because, as you may have also read, in September only 1 in 70 applications for permanent residency using the new point system were approved.
    Re: cost for spousal visas: Don’t forget that Danes who marry foreigners also have to put up 100,000 DKK (almost $18,000) as a “security” that they can’t touch until the spouse gets permanent residency.
    Yes, the cost for a family Green Card for my husband to move to the US would also run over $1000, but then he would have permanent residency, and waaaayyy fewer restrictions than I have had in Denmark.
    Meanwhile, the Swedish Migrationsverket has suggested that I’ll most likely automatically be given permanent residency here. The application doesn’t cost anything; you don’t even have to provide your own passport photos.
    Over and out with Denmark.

  8. After item #23 of the list, they’ve included this, which I found to be both polite and helpful. “There is no fee for submitting a complaint over the way a case was processed.”

  9. elephantwoman

    In short, get the hell out of there.

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