Introduced by the previous government at the end of last year, the so-called residency requirement (opholdskrav) means that residency in Denmark or another EU or EEA country in 7 of the last 12 years is required for eligibility for unemployment cover through the A-kasse system.
As such, many internationals and Danes who have lived abroad lost the right to have their income covered by the system in the event of losing their jobs.
Payouts to A-kasse members, known in Danish as dagpenge, are funded in part by the state and in part by membership fees. Membership is obtained by paying a monthly fee to a provider, known in Denmark as an A-kasse.
In an interview with newspaper Politiken on Sunday, Hummelgaard, of the Social Democratic party, said that the residency requirement would be scrapped.
“That is our policy, and it is going to happen,” the minister said.
Hummelgaard did not give a timeline for the legislation change but said it was “high” on his list of upcoming tasks.
“The vast majority of people netted by this are ethnic Danes who have worked abroad. So it does not fulfil the intention of those who passed the legislation,” Hummelgaard said.
He also added the residency requirement was “impossible to enforce”.
“A third problem – and it’s a huge problem – is that it has undermined the incentive to join an A-kasse,” Hummelgaard said.
The requirement for 7 years’ residence in the last 12 applies regardless of how many years an individual has been a fee-paying member of one of the service providers.
The new rules came into effect at the beginning of this year.
It was voted through parliament by the previous centre-right coalition government and right-wing Danish People’s Party, with the stated aim of curbing access to the system for people who have moved to Denmark in recent years.
The new rules – according to the 2018 bill – are to be phased in gradually by 2021, meaning residency requirements are 5 years of the last 12 in 2019, before increasing to 6 of the last 12 years in in 2020 and the full 7-year requirement in 2021.
“(The residency requirement) is unfair, unnecessary and bureaucratic,” Verner Sand Kirk, director of Danske A-kasser, an industry representative body, told Ritzau on Monday.