Denmark asylum seekers
Migrants rest at the road side of a freeway north of Rodby in Denmark in September 2015Reuters

The Danish Parliament has passed tougher laws on refugees that will see asylum seekers' valuables confiscated on arrival to the country to help cover the cost of their stay.

It comes amid a package of proposals voted in on 26 January to deter refugees from coming to the country, with the measures given the greenlight with a large majority, including the opposition Social Democrats.

"We're simply asking that if asylum seekers – in the rare case where they do come with enough means to pay for themselves then – following exactly the same rules as for Danish citizens wishing to be on unemployment benefits – if you can pay for yourself, well then you should pay for yourself before the Danish welfare system does it," government spokesperson Marcus Knuth told Euro News.

Valuables, including money and possessions, worth more than €1,340 (£1,012, $1,452) will be taken by police, under measures that allows refugees to be searched on entering the country, with only sentimental items protected from being seized.

The parliament also approved the extension of family reunification from one year, as it stood previously, to three years – a proposal that has previously been criticised by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), which says it violates the right to family life.

"The rulings provide a comprehensive picture showing that the processing of family reunification cases must be expeditious, flexible and efficient with special attention and care," said executive director of DIHR Jonas Christoffersen on the charity's website.

"This is not consistent with a three-year waiting period. We therefore believe that we have a very safe basis for saying that it is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights to defer family reunification for three years."

He added that the confiscation of valuables from refugees should not pose as much of a problem, as this could be contested in court.