Migration to Denmark

Migration to Denmark

Denmark has seen a steady increase in immigration over the past thirty years, with the majority of new immigrants originating from non-Western countries. As of 2014, more than 8% of the population of Denmark consists of immigrants. The population of immigrants is approximately 476,059, excluding Danish born descendants of immigrants to Denmark. This recent shift in demographics has posed challenges to the nation as it attempts to address religious and cultural difference, employment gaps, education of immigrants and their descendants, spatial segregation, crime rates, and language abilities.

Prior to World War I, Denmark experienced a mass emigration to non-European nations. During World War I, the period that followed, and World War II international emigration from and immigration to Denmark halted. Immigration to Denmark increased rapidly during the 1960s as the manufacturing economy expanded and the demand for labour increased. As a result of the increased demand, a majority of immigrants that came to Denmark during the 1960s and early 1970s were migrant labourers with guest worker status. A large proportion of the guest worker population came from Turkey, Yugoslavia, and Pakistan.

At the end of the 1960s, immigration policy became more stringent, greatly reducing the number of immigrants arriving in Denmark. Immigration was limited further in the early 1970s in response to the first oil crises and the resulting consequences for the Danish economy. In 1972 and 1973, Denmark's immigration policy only allowed for migration of workers from within the Nordic region. After 1973 this policy was expanded to also permit labour migration from Europe. Despite these limitations on immigration, the 1972 policy granted guest workers residing in Denmark the option of applying for family reunification which then became the primary method of immigration from non-European countries to Denmark. 

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