Denmark has put out the word to migrants and refugees seeking a new life in the wealthy Scandinavian country: Think very carefully before coming.
Ads in English and Arabic in newspapers in Lebanon — which has more than 1.1 million registered refugees from neighboring Syria — spelled out some home truths:
- Denmark's parliament is cutting state help — a lot. "The social benefits for newcomer refugees will be reduced by up to 50 percent," the ad from the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing stated.
- Permanent residence will only be granted after five years, at the earliest.
- Foreign nationals who are given temporary residence will not have the right to bring family members over during the first year.
- Those looking to get permanent residence will be required to speak and understand Danish.
- Rejected asylum seekers will be expelled "quickly." A special return center of rejected applicants will ensure this fact.
Officials at Denmark's Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing were not immediately available for comment on the ads.
Denmark's message comes as images of exhausted and desperate migrants and refugees, many from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, prompt some governments in Western Europe to pledge that they would take in tens of thousands. Germany has said it would take 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015 alone.
France has said it would take 24,000 Syrian from camps in the Middle East over two years. The U.K., meanwhile, has promised to take 20,000 over five years.