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The Danish history of immigration was, until 1950, mainly net emigration, as a result of rather high unemployment. Before the mid 1960s immigrants primarily came from Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The immigration flow changed by the late 1960s due to economic growth and labour market changes.

Subsequently, an inflow of foreign labour recruitments started from Yugoslavia, Turkey and Pakistan. Due to the consequences of the Oil Crisis, immigration was halted in 1973 for non European Economic Area (EEA) citizens. The restriction changed the immigration movement into family reunification for immigrants with permanent residency.

However, a new wave of immigration emerged consisting of refugees from Vietnam, Chile, Poland, Iran, Sri Lanka and stateless Palestinians coming from Lebanon. In addition, from the 1990s the number of refugees to Denmark from Somalia and other African countries increased. Refugees from former Yugoslavia were granted residency permits during 1995 to 1996. During the 2000s immigrants have primarily come from other European Union countries, North America and Asia, while the flow from Africa has decreased.

IOM Denmark has, since its establishment in July 2009, focused on facilitating the communication between the Danish authorities and other IOM missions around the world, as well as on working with its partners in Denmark to find innovative solutions and responses to migration-related challenges in the country, particularly in the field of integration, radicalization, discrimination and xenophobia, labour migration, migration and development, counter-trafficking, assisted voluntary return (AVR) of vulnerable migrants and resettlement.

Migration and Development

The Diaspora present in Denmark is the focus and main partner in all Migration and Development projects in Denmark. It is in this sense that efforts are being made to involve them, on the one hand, in the development of their countries of origin, through the migration-for-development concept. On the other, emphasis is being put on improving their integration in Danish society, as better integrated migrants become more productive members of society and consequently, contribute more effectively towards the development of their country of residence.


  • Qualified Expatriate Somali Technical Support – Migration for Development in Africa (QUESTS-MIDA). IOM Helsinki serves as the outreach and Diaspora liaison mission for all Nordic countries, including Denmark. The duration of the project is 01 July 2009 – 30 June 2012. Its main donor is UNDP.
  • Independent Network of Labour Migration and Integration Experts (LMIE-INET), coordinated by the IOM Regional Office in Brussels. The EC-funded project covers all 27 EU Member States plus Croatia, Turkey and Norway.

Regulating Migration

The main topics of concern under this area are counter-trafficking, assisted voluntary return and reintegration of vulnerable migrants (particularly women and minors) and migration management with the aim to reduce irregular migration.


  • Information, assisted voluntary return and re-integration assistance for vulnerable migrants from Denmark – Phase II. Managed by IOM Copenhagen and funded by the Danish Immigration Service.

Forced Migration

Even though the number of refugees in total has decreased during the last couple of years, Denmark continues to be a relatively important country for asylum-seekers and the resettlement of quota refugees.


  • Family Reunification to Denmark. Managed by IOM Helsinki.
  • Resettlement of Quota Refugees including Pre-departure Health Checks of Quota Refugees to Denmark. Managed by IOM Helsinki.
  • Tracing of Unaccompanied Minors’ Families/ Relatives in Country of Origin for the Government of Denmark. Managed by IOM Copenhagen.

Last updated:
Main text: October 2011
Facts and figures: September 2014

Population (2015):5.7 million
Area:43,094 km sq
Languages :Danish
Currency:Danish Krone (DKK)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 44,863
HDI Rank (2014):4 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 1,378 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):2.7 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):10.1%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):51.6%
Population under 15 (2015):16.9%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):0.2%

International Organization for Migration
Marmorvej 51
P.O. Box 2530

Tel: +45 45 33 53 90
Email: iomcopenhagen@iom.int
Website: https://denmark.iom.int