Denmark is just going for it and charging people to be from other countries.
Starting Jan 1, applying for a student, work or residency permit costs, in technical terms, a shitload. A family reunification visa (i.e. you’re Danish, you marry someone who isn’t and you want the whole family to live in Denmark) costs nearly 6,000 DKK, more than $1,000. A permanent residence application, which I was planning on making this year, costs $620. This is over and above the $300 that it costs to take the language test.
There’s no way around it: These fees aim, in the most primitive way possible, to discourage foreigners from coming to Denmark. Setting the fees so high sends a signal that the state believes it does not benefit from immigration in any way, and it is up to immigrants to recoup their own ‘costs’ at every stage of the process.
As someone who pays more than $2,000 every month in income taxes to the state, plus all the sales taxes on the goods and services I purchase, I find the sheer counterproductiveness of this to be the most offensive. It discourages precisely the ‘right’ kinds of immigrants–the ones that are economically empowered to pick between various countries to work in–while imposing a nearly unpayable fee on the people who don’t have as free a choice.
This comes on the back of a number of other troubling developments. The laws regarding spouse visas, for example, were recently tightened to require everyone to speak Danish and pass the citizenship test. So if you’re Danish, you fall in love with a Brazilian, she can’t move here until she (somehow) learns to speak Danish and can pass an utterly arbitrary multiple choice exam.
There’s also been discussion of how foreigners should ‘earn’ the rights to healthcare and education granted to Danes by birth. This week the government is considering proposals to deny student grants to foreigners.
This stuff is all, of course, totally illegal under Denmark’s commitments under EU and international law, not to mention its own constitution. But there’s a huge constituency that wants to make foreigners justify every kroner spent on basic government services that benefit them, while ignoring the massive entitlements Danes enjoy without any obligations.
So fuck it, i’m no longer planning on applying for permanent residency. I could afford it if I wanted to, but I’m not going to continue to support a country that ignores my economic contributions while forcing me to justify my enjoyment of basic services. Congratulations, Denmark: One less immigrant.