Refugees have not filled the labor gap in Denmark

The association of Danish Industries predicts that there will be a significant shortage of skilled labor in Denmark in the coming years if the present pattern of education and employment continues. There will be a shortage of workforce, especially in the construction, industry and health sector. Even the severe shortage does occur unskilled refugees cannot fill the labor gap

Denmark is not the only country in the world that has a shortage of skilled labor. All developed and developing countries are having the same problem. Japan is not known as a traditional immigrant country but the country is in search of half a million skilled and semi-skilled workers. Workers from East European countries always migrated to Western countries, now those countries also are recruiting workers from abroad.

Read the article in Danish with more details Flygtninge kan ikke løse manglen på arbejdskraft

All countries are desperately trying to prevent the influx of refugees despite they have a shortage of workers. Many people misunderstand the attitude of xenophobia but that is not the case. Foreign workers come normally from Asian countries. They are not white people.

Read also: The complete guideline about skilled labor immigration to Denmark

I have worked for the Danish Integration department. I was involved in the integration process of refugees. I know very well why refugees are not the answer to the shortage of labor. The research of the Rockwool fund and the study of the Ministry of finance have come to the same conclusion that incoming refugees are mostly illiterate and they do no good the labor market.

I have met many Syrian refugees who are either illiterate or not familiar with Latin alphabets. Many refugees from Eritrea are also illiterates. In our department of refugee integration, we tried hard to give those refugees some basic pieces of knowledge about Denmark.

It is very necessary for every resident to log in to the self-service of public websites. Many refugees fra Eritrea have not used a computer before. It was not easy for us to teach them how to log in to self-service.

I can imagine how difficult it is to train them to the skilled worker. It is much convenient to bring skilled labor from elsewhere

A recent survey conducted by the Danish Ministry of Immigration and housing finds, that 6 out 10 refugees are unskilled or do not have any education at all. Only ten percent of refugees are somehow skilled.

Another survey finds, that six out of ten companies do not want to employ refugees because refugees do not have the necessary qualifications, they don’t know Danish or English and it take huge time and energy to train them.

Germany has a similar experience. A German survey finds that less than 15% of refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries have vocational education or training.

In recent years, the Danish Ministry of Integration, municipalities, and companies have taken a combined effort to bring Syrian refugees in the Danish labor market. It appears, that the education that Syrian refugees have from home is not applicable in Denmark. Their level of education is very low. Syrian eighth grade corresponds to roughly third grade to Denmark. German industries have had a similar experience. Los Angelos Times writes, an eighth-grade Syrian student cannot read a text.

Many people including the previous Social democratic government hoped, that Syrian refugees would solve the shortage of skilled workers. It was a widespread idea that Syrian refugees were well-educated.

But it appears that Syrians have the lowest education among refugees. A survey conducted by the Rockwool Foundation finds, only seven out of ten refugees can read and write with Latin alphabets, and two out of three Syrians in Denmark have no education.

The educational standard of Eritrean refugees is not any better. To upgrade their know-how that is compatible with Denmark needs a long and expensive process. Not many employers are interested to do that. So all the burden ultimately comes on the taxpayers.

Some refugees claim that they are skilled. Employers place them in work on trial and find that refugees don’t know advanced types of equipment that are used in construction and building works. Some Danish companies who employed refugees did not have a positive experience.

During the registration process of refugees, some refugees claim that they are educated doctors and engineers but their certificates are burned under bombardment or lost during the long journey.

Universities tried to evaluate their professional knowledge. But not many individuals have been able to prove their qualifications.

After failing to prove their professional knowledge, some are working as unskilled workers in restauration and cleaning branches. The United Kingdom has reported similar cases. The Financial Times reports that many self-claimed doctors and engineers are working in hotels and restaurants.

Denmark needs skilled workers like electricians, carpenters, welders and construction workers. But refugees are being employed as unskilled labor in sectors where there no shortage of workers. Refugees could not help the shortage of workforce that Denmark is suffering from.

In present, all developed countries are interested in taking skilled labors from abroad. Denmark is no exception. Many Danish companies are forced to say no to orders because they don’t have enough manpower to deliver orders.

Danes have got less number of children in the last 40 years. The birth rate is falling every year. Danish society will be unable to cope with the situation where there are many elderly people but fewer young workers.

Even in this situation, Denmark is not willing to take refugees because they are not qualified. On the other hand, migrated individuals are experienced, educated and skilled. They can contribute to the country from day one.

Denmark has tried in many ways to use refugees as a necessary worked force but failed each time. Half of the refugees are women who are not motivated to work. Many refugees suffer from trauma because of their violent experiences back home. They need medical care

The recruitments of foreign workers have already given huge positive effects on the Danish economy.

The association of Danish Industries is pressing to relax the immigration law so that they can easily employ skilled foreign workers. They urge the government to act swiftly before it becomes too late.

The economies of Asian countries are growing rapidly. In some years, they could be so rich that not many people would be interested to work abroad.

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