• Martin Fredsted Kjær
On the 21st of February 2019, the Danish government in cooperation with Danish
People’s Party and with support from the Social Democrats passed its new Financial Law. A
salient part of the law includes various measures to tighten up conditions for refugees living
in Denmark and people seeking asylum. One measure here is a new focus on ‘temporariness,’
which stresses that refugees residing in Denmark are to consider their stay in Denmark
temporary and are expected to leave once constitutional conditions permit. This initiative was
put into effect before the hearing answer deadline, potentially circumventing scrutiny, and
media debate has since then sparked as to the harmful effect such a focus on temporariness
can cause for refugees.
In this study I research the impact of such temporariness and the uncertainty it brings for
Syrian refugee families (parents with children) living in Denmark under the 7.1 status. I do
this from a person-centric perspective, with a qualitative, inductive methodology that shreds
light on their experiences, perceptions, and points of view through a series of semi-structured
interviews. Analysing their statements for themes on overarching sentiments and drawing
primarily on Honneth’s theory of recognition and disrespect, I find that the families are
impacted in the sense that they feel a sense of anxiety, loss, powerlessness, and injustice
following the arrival of the new law. More specifically, they dread a possible future in Syria
or outside Denmark, feel that they cannot plan stable life trajectories, be certain that they can
realise their developmental ambitions, and worry about the effects on their children, who
have come to feel a strong sense of belonging in Denmark. They perceive this as an injustice
in regard to the efforts they have made to ‘integrate’ and establish themselves and feel that
they given no rights, relegated to a state of powerlessness, in which their future is likely to
involve a loss of acquired resources and potential danger. These findings at person-centric
level allow for a subsequent discussion in which I contextualise the experiences related in the
interviews to the policy change of the new financial law. Afterwards, I include the concept of
human security to contrast and critique the law, based on these findings. This is due to human
security obligating states to provide circumstances for its citizens and subjects to develop to
their full potential, which I find that new financial law hinders, based on the interviews.
Finally, in the conclusion, I point towards other areas related to this new shift towards
temporariness calling for further research.
Publication date31 May 2019
Number of pages87
ID: 304814059