Denmark's immigration ministry declares it 'wonderful' that more migrants left the country than entered in 2019
Denmark's immigration ministry says more migrants left Denmark in 2019 than entered, with the minister in charge of the matter calling the official figures 'wonderful'.
It was the first time since 2011 that net migration - the difference between immigration and emigration - was negative.
Mattias Tesfaye said: 'Whenever possible, it is only natural for refugees to travel back to their homeland. I am glad that we can give people protection while it is needed. But I'm also happy every time a refugee can return home'.
Net immigration to Denmark has been falling (slightly) since 2015. Last year, a net 730 people left the Scandinavian country of 5.8 million.
The figures released by the Immigration Ministry showed that the main groups of people who left last year were Somalis, Syrians, Iraqis and Bosnians - while people from Eritrea, Iran and Afghanistan sought shelter in the country.
Eva Singer of the Danish Refugee Council, a nongovernmental organisation, said the drop should not be attributed to Danish immigration policy but to the fact that fewer people have been able to reach Denmark, in part because of Turkey closing its border to the European Union.
Denmark in recent times has grabbed international attention for its strict stand toward immigrants.