Denmark: Adoption of an Act amending the Aliens Act to strengthen international recruitment

On 23 March 2023, the Danish Parliament adopted amendments to the Aliens Act to make it easier (and cheaper) for Danish companies to recruit foreign workers. The law will enter into force on 1 April 2023.

Our previous news about the bill may be read here

1) Supplementary pay-limit scheme

With the adoption, a new supplementary pay-limit scheme is introduced, according to which a residence permit may be granted upon application if the foreigner has entered into an employment contract or been offered employment in a professional field where the employment involves an annual salary of at least DKK 375,000. According to the existing pay-limit scheme, an employee must have an annual salary of at least DKK 465,000 (2023 level). This pay-limit scheme will continue to apply.

In addition, it is a condition that the previous three months' seasonally adjusted gross unemployment at the time of application has on average not exceeded a level set by the Minister for Immigration and Integration[1], and that the company declares that the position at the time of application has been advertised on Jobnet and the EURES portal for at least two weeks. Finally, it remains a condition for obtaining a residence permit that salary and employment conditions are customary according to Danish market standards.

2) Extension of the fast-track scheme

In order to give more companies access to the fast-track scheme, which allows for the rapid and flexible recruitment from third-country labour, the Act also provides for an extension of the fast-track scheme so that it now only requires at least 10 full-time employees in Denmark to be covered by the scheme. It is the number of full-time employees at the time when the company submits the application for certification that determines whether a company has 10 full-time employees.

Following an amendment adopted, it has now also been agreed that companies that are already certified will become subject to the more lenient condition of 10 full-time employees when the act enters into force on 1 April 2023. A company certified before 1 April 2023, but which on 1 April 2023 or later no longer meets the condition of 20 full-time employees will therefore not have its certification withdrawn if the condition of a minimum of 10 full-time employees is met at that time.

These must still be permanent employees, and temporary workers hired by the company may therefore may not be included when calculating the number of employees.

3) Better opportunities for work after graduation

It has also been decided that foreigners who complete a Danish bachelor's, professional bachelor's, master's or doctoral programme may be granted an automatic job search stay of three years to allow them to work for three years after completion of the educational programme.

4) Extension of the positive list

The adoption extends the positive list for higher education graduates to include more job titles and makes it more predictable. This is done by allowing the professionally defined unemployment insurance funds to introduce supplementary job titles to the positive list applicable to the whole country within the individual unemployment insurance fund's professional area, and that the regional labour market councils have the opportunity to introduce supplementary job titles on the list for their respective regional areas, just as job titles on the positive list in future may only be removed from the list after two years at the earliest.

5) Extension of the Start-up Denmark programme

Finally, the adoption entails an extension of the Start-up Denmark scheme so that a foreign business owner who wants to open a branch in Denmark of an existing business will have access to apply for a residence permit under Start-up Denmark, and that foreigners who have already founded a successful independent business in Denmark (e.g. while the foreigner had another residence basis) will have the opportunity to apply for a residence permit through the Start-up Denmark scheme to run the business.

[1] In the original political agreement, it was foreseen that no new residence permits could be granted under the supplementary scheme if the last three months' seasonally adjusted gross unemployment rate exceeded 3.75% on average

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