Nepalese student and family asked to leave Denmark for exceeding working hours

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Shalik Ram Bhattarai and his family. Photo courtesy: tv2fyn.dk

Most international students complain about the number of hours they can legally work in Australia but some European countries have just gotten even tougher. Such as Denmark, which until recently was known for its open arms to expatriates.

The Danish government has reportedly been so strict that students who worked extra for even a negligible amount of time have been made to leave the country. One ‘high performing’ student was recently asked to return to his native country because he exceeded legal working hours by one and half hours (16.5 hours instead of the legal 15 hours allowed for international students).

A young Nepalese family has been ordered to leave Denmark for exactly the same reason. Shalik Ram Bhattarai, his wife and their three year old son were asked to leave by last Thursday, 7 January. However, 28 year old appealed against the decision and so can now legally remain in the country until the outcome of the appeals process is known.  The Immigration Appeals Board (Udlændingenævnet) agreed on Wednesday to hear an appeal and the family will be allowed to remain in the country until a ruling is handed down, thelocal.dk said on January 9. All this leaves Mr Bhattarai’s 400,000 kroner worth of investment in his studies up in the air.

The three year old son of the couple was born in Denmark, it is learnt.

Mr Bhattarai apparently emigrated to Denmark 8 years ago to study economics followed by his wife five years ago, the report said. But now the life he built in Denmark for eight years is coming to an abrupt end. The government issued the heart-rending notice to him only days after he finished his Master’s thesis in economics at the University of Southern Denmark.

So why was the Nepalese man and his family targeted?

The father of one apparently worked too many hours as early as in 2012/13 which the Danish immigration is understood to have picked up. He even had paid the fine for the ‘violation’ of the rule, he told Danish media, but he was recently asked to leave the country along with the three year old child.

“I think it is sad that they will destroy my education and my future. But that is something they decide and I can’t do anything,” he was quoted as saying by the website.

The southasia.com.au made attempts to contact Mr Bhattarai and his partner but was not responded to.

The UN recently criticised Denmark for toughening its immigration policies with an aim to make the country less attractive for foreigners, specially the potential seekers of humanitarian visas.

A Cameroonian Engineering student, Marius Youbi, has already left Denmark under a similar order from the  Recruitment and Integration Authority. He was given time until 8 January. His offence was similar to that of Mr Bhattarai: excessive working hours.

The student, Marius Youbi who studied at Aarhus University, was later found out to have scored the highest grades in all papers he appeared despite the fact that the university had preponed his examination to fast-track the deportation process. What is more, the student had appeared three papers in one day but came out with flying colours nonetheless. The episode appears to have attracted considerable media attention from the Danish media.

This article has been edited for clarity. 9jan16 11:25 am

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