We Must Stop `Scaring Away’ Foreigners, Danish PM Says in OpEd

The government must change its immigration policy and make it easier for skilled foreigners “who share our culture and values” to come to Denmark, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen writes in an op-ed for daily Berlingske.

“We’ll shoot ourselves in the foot if we scare away the people we need,” Rasmussen wrote. At the same time, his center-right government wants to “shut the door on immigrants who lack the will or skills to contribute and become part of the community.”

The editorial published on Friday comes days after the prime minister was forced to backtrack on plans for ambitious tax cuts due to opposition from the populist Danish People’s Party, which was demanding severe curbs on immigration in return.

For more on Denmark’s tax and immigration spat, click here

Rasmussen, who was due to debate immigration policy in parliament later on Friday, said policy changes should include allowing foreigners to work second jobs and do charity work without breaking the law. His comments appear to be directed at the case of Brooke Harrington, a U.S. national, and other foreign academics who have faced judicial proceedings in Denmark for inadvertently breaking tight visa rules.

Danish business has repeatedly warned of skilled shortages as the economy recovers.

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