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University of Copenhagen
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PhD: Immigration policies are failing

This small Scandinavian welfare state actively seeks international talent. But policies are not working properly, and ministries are not co-operating

[Correction: In an earlier version of this article, the University Post made an error in quoting the numbers of students and representatives interviewed. The mistake has been corrected. We apologise.]

International researchers are often regarded as the ideal types of immigrants: Full of cultural and academic curiosity and with specialized expertise, they are sought after by the private industry and declared a competitive advantage by the Danish state. Still, many international researchers and students face great and sometimes insurmountable challenges when trying to obtain residency.

This is one of the conclusions from Ana Mosneaga’s PhD thesis from the Institute of Geography and Geology at the University of Copenhagen. She is interviewed in the Danish newspaper Information.

Her research has also been presented to the University Post in different stages:
Read: Universities struggle in brain game, Students stay if they have a job offer, love and Stay or leave Denmark, it is a lottery.

Ministries can’t communicate…

»There is a big discrepancy between how international students are viewed as a potential part of the national workforce from a political perspective, and to how actual policies are implemented in that area« Ana Mosneaga says.

In her PhD, Ana interviewed 43 students, and 34 representatives from public authorities, university offices and business interest organisations and analyzed rules and laws on international recruitment and immigration policy.

She concludes that it is both the work of immigration authorities and the concrete immigration policies that prove the biggest obstacles to attracting newcomers.

…or co-operate

One of the problems is that the former Ministry of Integration (Integrationsministeriet) was split up and their mandates were placed in both the Ministry of Employment and the Ministry of Justice. And the ministries do not always communicate when it’s really needed.

»Whereas Denmark before had a central system for immigration management, which suffered from rigid implementation and the rules changed every fourth month, we now have a chaotic system in which two ministries cannot manage to maintain an ongoing cooperation«, Ana says.

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