Immigration to Aalborg is on the rise. According to official statistics by Aalborg Kommune, the number of immigrants, foreign nationals and their children in Aalborg has steadily risen since 2008. People come for myriad reasons: to work; to study at Aalborg University and University College Nordjylland; to marry; to seek asylum; to join family members already living here. While I do not have a breakdown of those who settle in the kommune of Aalborg, over half of Danish residence permits granted in 2012 came from EU/EEA countries (top 5 countries, in order: Poland, Romania, Germany, Lithuania, and Bulgaria). The largest number of people seeking residence here from outside the EU in 2012 originated from the USA, India, China, Ukraine and the Philippines (in that order).
The spring before we moved to Aalborg, we visited the city as a family. A prior online search had pointed us to an office called the International Citizen Service (ICS), where immigrants can register as residents of the Kommune (municipality), ask questions about job searches and taxes, and gather other information useful to living in Aalborg. So even though our moving day was months away, we wrote a list of questions and headed to the ICS armed with our queries on the first day of our visit.
A friendly staff member greeted us when our number was called. Despite the fact that the waiting room was packed, she patiently answered all of our questions – handwriting names and addresses of offices where we could get further information, in some cases – and we left feeling much better informed and reassured that everything was going to go just fine once we lived here. (Inevitably there were hiccups but those are the subject of future posts!) Read the rest of this entry »