Unemployment insurance applicants in Denmark must provide proof of foreign address under new rules

People applying for unemployment cover in Denmark who have lived abroad in recent years could see eligibility affected by incoming rules.

Unemployment insurance applicants in Denmark must provide proof of foreign address under new rules
Photo: Anne Bæk/Ritzau Scanpix

In new rules set to be phased in from January 1st, members of unemployment insurance providers known as A-kasser must provide documentation for any periods of foreign residence.

Payouts to A-kasse members are funded in part by the state and in part by membership fees.

Under current rules, citizens of non-EU and EEA countries with permission to reside in Denmark must have been A-kasse members for one year and have worked full-time in Denmark for one year in order to qualify for the unemployment insurance.

Those requirements are made significantly stricter in the proposed reform, in which all A-kasse members will need to document residence in Denmark or another EU or EEA country for seven of the last eight years in order to be eligible.

The new requirements are to take partial effect on January 1st next year, with the rules being phased in gradually, taking full effect by 2021. In 2019, the requirement will be residence in Denmark or the EU for five of the last eight years.

People who have lived outside of Denmark but within the EU will therefore be required to give proof of address in the form of wage slips, receipts from payments of rent or other forms of documentation that show where they have lived and worked.

Minister of Employment Troels Lund Poulsen confirmed that it would be applicants themselves, rather than A-kasse administrators, who would be responsible for providing the necessary paperwork.

Industry representatives from the insurance providers have previously voiced alarm over the difficulty in enforcing the new rules, due to the absence of information on foreign addresses in the Danish registration system.

READ ALSO: Unemployment insurance curbs could create administrative jam for internationals in Denmark

“There will be an individual assessment of what is considered to be sufficient documentation, and documentation requirements will be dependent on the activities (when they lived) abroad of the individual member,” Poulsen said in response to a parliamentary question from Red Green Alliance MP Finn Sørensen, Ritzau reports.

Some exceptions to the residency requirement will apply, for example placement in a non-EU country under employment of a Danish company. Such exemptions will also apply to spouses of those working abroad for Danish firms.

“It’s not enough to document where you have been employed. You must also document that the company you worked for, legally speaking, is Danish and not local,” Verner Sand Kirk, director of Danske A-kasser, an industry representative body, told Ritzau.

Poulsen said that the rules provided for “flexible and pragmatic” administration by A-kasse case managers.

But that will be of little practical benefit, according to Kirk.

“It’s not normal policymaking, from his ministry or elsewhere, to make rules that you can turn the other cheek to. Rules regarding sufficient documentation are normally applied very stringently,” he said.

Sørensen noted that A-kasse members would have been unaware of future documentation requirements in Denmark under previous employments and residences in EU countries.

“It could happen to anyone – that you just can’t find the right documentation,” he told Ritzau.

“It is (A-kasse) members that will have a problem if some information is missing,” he added.

READ ALSO: Denmark to keep unemployment insurance money paid by people who lose eligibility under new rules 

For members


Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

Job searching in Denmark can be a daunting and lengthy process with many hurdles to overcome. The Local spoke to Kay Xander Mellish, author of 'How to Work in Denmark', for her tips on submitting a successful CV and application.

Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

CVs in Denmark often have certain aspects of layout, presentation and content in common. By writing a CV that sticks to some of these recognisable customs, you may improve your chances of catching the eye of a potential employer.

1. Length

“Keep it to one excellent page, or two if you’re more senior. I’d say if you’re aged 30 and under, one page will be enough. Only add the jobs that are relevant. Employers don’t want to hear about that restaurant server or babysitting job if it’s not relevant to the role,” Mellish said.

2. Format

At the top of your CV, a paragraph describing your experience, skills, education and character is a common way to lead into a CV. This text can be adapted depending on the job you’re applying for and how you want to present your skills.

“Add three adjectives about yourself that you can support with an example, rather than ten adjectives with no story. For example, say you are innovative for this reason. People don’t like hot air in Denmark,” Mellish said.

Aside from the profile text, chronological lists of qualifications, relevant employment history and other relevant experience should be kept brief enough to fit the one to two pages.

3. Show your personal side and a photo

It is expected that applicants include a section about their hobbies, even family situation on their CV in Denmark, as well as a photo, to give a sense of who they are as a person.

“Danish employers are interested in you as a human, more so than employers in other countries so include information about yourself, including your age and your hobbies.

“Choose a good quality photo that is not too serious but shows you looking friendly and approachable,” Mellish said.

4. Story telling

“Think in terms of story telling”, Mellish advised. “Pure letters and numbers don’t mean a lot to employers in Denmark, they need to know what projects you’ve done, what role you played and what kind of person you are through your CV.

“So rather than writing ‘I have these grades’, it’s better to say ‘I worked on this project, it took this long, I achieved this'”, Mellish said.

5. Hit the ground running

Mellish called this “plug and play”, where you show you will slot right into the company and get going with the role.

“When employers are reading your CV, they want to know what you can do on day one of the job. Sell your ability to solve someone’s problem. You need to give the impression you can add value straight away.

“In Denmark the average length of time in a job is two and a half years, because you can take your pension when you move, so employers don’t want someone they need to spend time training,” Mellish told The Local.

READ ALSO: Five tips for writing an effective Danish CV

6. Teamwork

“Group work is very important in Denmark, more than individual achievements. So talk about your teamwork and how you worked with a group to produce a good business result. It shouldn’t be ‘me, me, me’ – that’s a turn off,” Mellish said.

7. LinkedIn

“People in Denmark love LinkedIn so you need a fabulous LinkedIn profile with a good picture. Before anyone calls you for an interview they’ll have looked at your LinkedIn profile.

“In your profile, include the storytelling, explaining the projects you’ve worked on. If your job involves a uniform, I recommend wearing it in your LinkedIn photo so people get that impression of you right away. Your background photo should also be work-related, not rainbows or puppies. Use it to tell the story of who you are,” Mellish advised.

8. Unsolicited application

This is when you approach a company or department you would like to work for, without a job being advertised. The Danish term for it is uopfordret ansøgning. 

“Many people make contact on LinkedIn and ask to meet for a coffee, where they chat and rather than pitch for a job, they ask if the person knows anyone looking for someone like them. Danish employers welcome this and many people are hired this way,” Mellish said.

Another way to network is to join a union, Mellish advised. They often have career events but can also help read your contract when you get a job offer, or help with any problems in the workplace. 

9. Ring the recruiter

The phone number of the hiring manager will often be in the job advert. Mellish advised finding a quiet place to ring them from and spending ten to fifteen minutes asking some good business questions.

“This also helps you work out if you might want to work for this person,” Mellish said.

“Send your CV within 24 hours of the phone call and mention you spoke to them in your application,” she added.

10. Patience

“On average it can take six months to find a job in Denmark. If it’s under this, you’re lucky. If it takes a year, it’s not you, it just takes a long time because employers are looking for someone to fit into their team.

“I wrote 100 letters, I got ten responses, three interviews and one job which I had for eight years,” Mellish told The Local.

“Danish employers are not always good at getting back to you. If you don’t hear anything, just keep applying for other jobs. If you sent an application on June 1st, you could send a follow-up email on June 15th, then you’ll have to leave it and move on,” she advised. 

Kay Xander Mellish’s book ‘How to Work in Denmark’ offers both job-searching advice and tips on how to succeed in the Danish workplace.