Denmark to drop criminal record certificate requirement for refugees

Denmark to drop criminal record certificate requirement for refugees
The Danish government suggests dropping the criminal record certificate requirement for refugees who want to work at nurseries and day-care centres for children.

In Denmark it is a legal requirement that nurseries, kindergartens and day-care centres for children obtain certificates on all staff that can come in direct contact with children under 15 years.

The certificate must ensure that the employee has not previously been convicted of sexual offenses against children.

But when the country's municipalities want to send newly arrived refugees to work at day-care centres, it is often impossible to get hold of the necessary information in their home countries. And therefore, the government is now willing to change the law.

Culture Minister, Bertel Haarder, is responsible for the rules on criminal records. And in a written response to DF's Pernille Bendixen, he expresses understanding that the country's municipalities have a dilemma.

- On one hand they are obliged to obtain a certificate before taking refugees into internships in institutions for children. And on the other hand, it is practically impossible to obtain information from the countries they have fled.

'I will therefore ask my officials to look into ways to revise the existing rules on criminal records, so that no unnecessary resources are used to obtain blank certificates', says Bertel Haarder, and adds:

- Adjustments must never slacken the overarching goal of the children's safety and security.

The minister's response creates great concern regarding children's safety and security within the government's support party, the Danish People's Party (DF).

- As I read it, the government is on its way to open up for that refugees can be employed in day-care centres without a criminal record certificate. I think it is totally outrageous that one can consider loosen these rules that are intended to protect children from harm, says spokeswoman Pernille Bendixen (DF) to Ekstra Bladet.

At the same time she calls it discrimination against the Danish pedagogues who have to continue to provide a criminal record certificate to get a job, while refugees may refrain.

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