Bischoff, Carina Saxlund & Anders Ejrnæs. From Homogeneity to Diversity: Societal and Political Responses to Immigration. In A. Hagedorn Krogh, A. Agger, & P. Triantafillou (Eds.), Public Governance in Denmark, 2022, (pp. 227–245). Emerald Publishing Limited.
International migration is a global challenge affecting peoples and nations all over the world. In the advanced economies and welfare states of Western Europe, integrating migrants presents political, social as well as economic challenges. Over the past 50 years, Denmark has made a remarkable U-turn on the immigration question. Once the author of one of the most liberal immigration policies in Western Europe, Denmark presently has one of the strictest. This chapter addresses the causes behind the Danish policy U-turn, and how it has affected the social, economic and political integration of immigrants in Denmark. The chapter shows how Danish immigration politics have turned from low to high salience and have undergone radical changes resulting in a tightening of both internal and external immigration policies. It has become far more difficult to obtain residence and citizenship in Denmark. These measures have limited influx although international refugee crises are difficult to control at the borders. Moreover, Danish integration policies have focused increasingly on obligations and incentives, primarily by cutting benefits. The Danish case however shows that reduction of social benefits only has a marginal positive short-term effect on employment but with some negative side effects. When it comes to education, the Danish welfare state has been relatively successful in integrating immigrants and descendants in the educational system.