In 2009 there were approximately 530,000 immigrants and descendants of immigrants living in Denmark, which corresponds to 9.5% of the population. After the tightening of immigration policy introduced by the liberal-conservative government in 2002, immigration from non-Western countries fell but net immigration from Western countries rose. In January 2009, 11.1% of immigrants and their descendants were of Turkish origin, followed by 5.8% of German origin, 5.5% of Iraqi origin, 5.2% of Polish origin, 4.5% of Lebanese origin, and 4.2% came from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The employment frequency among 16- to 64-year-old immigrants and their descendants rose from 46% in 2001 to 57% in 2008. This latter figure should be compared with 79% for Danes. For female immigrants and their descendants, employment rose from 38% to 51% in the same period, which still means that one in two immigrant women do not work.
The employment rate for immigrants from poorer countries has been increasing in recent years, and so far this group has not seemed to suffer disproportionally from the effects of the financial crisis. This improvement can in part be attributed to a lower inflow of immigrants, which has increasing the average residence period of immigrants in general, and that more immigrants were admitted to Denmark for labor market reasons.
In relation to educational achievements, immigrants and their descendants are making progress but still fall well behind native Danes. In 2008, the percentages of 25- to 29-year-olds who had achieved a higher education were 9% for immigrants and 20% for their descendants, compared with 32% for Danes. The 24-year-old rule for family reunification introduced in 2004 has had the effect that immigrants and their descendants bring spouses from abroad now less often. The percentage fell from 61% in 2001 to 31% in 2008. Instead, immigrants increasingly marry other immigrants or their descendants already living in Denmark, as well as native Danes.
Still, it is fair to say that a number of immigrants in Denmark, especially from non-Western countries, have problems integrating. The government has therefore introduced a number of policies and measures in cooperation with municipalities designed to further the integration of immigrants.
These instruments, apart from improved language courses at all levels, include financial incentives to the municipalities, industry, NGOs and so on to assist with the integration of immigrants.
The government claims that the situation is improving. According to a recent publication from the Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs, an increasing number of immigrants say they feel more integrated, have more Danish friends and fewer feel discriminated against, while many more immigrants are speaking Danish than ever before. Still, there is a long way to go.
Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs, Integration 2009: Nine Focus Areas, at
http://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdo nlyres/B3D6D658-B4D2-4879-B63B-D61B 58CB2131/0/Integration_2009_UK_web. pdf