Denmark is losing popularity as a relocation choice for EU citizens

The increase in foreign labour in Denmark is at its lowest rate since 2013.

Denmark is losing popularity as a relocation choice for EU citizens
File photo: Jeppe Vejlø/Ritzau Scanpix

The reduction in the number of people relocating to the country to work could have consequences for the Danish economy, newspaper Børsen reported on Wednesday.

EU nationals have in particular begun to choose Denmark less frequently for work relocation. During the last nine months of 2019, there was no net increase in EU citizens working in the country.

That trend is a concerning one, according to Niklas Praefke, head economist with Ledernes Hovedorganisation (LH), a trade union for management professionals.

“If this trend was to be continue such that we actually lose foreign labour, this would be a very serious headache for the Danish economy,” Praefke told Børsen.

Recent years have seen a significant influx of foreign labour to Denmark.

There are currently around 290,000 foreign nationals on the Danish labour market. But the influx has now slowed down.

In 2019, 9476 foreign nationals entered the Danish labour market, a decrease from 2018’s figure of 17,365 and the first time since 2013 that the growth of foreign labour is below 10,000 people.

The trend is even more marked when EU citizens are taken in isolation. In 2019, a total of 1,416 new workers came to Denmark from the EU, while the previous year saw 8,462 EU newcomers.

Michael Svarer, a professor of economics at Aarhus University said that the slowdown is fast, in particular with regard to people from Eastern European countries.

“Foreign labour fulfils demands when Danish labour is unable to,” Svarer told Børsen.

“And if we can't bring in foreigners, this increases the risk of bottlenecks and weakens the competitiveness of companies,” he added.

LH called for politicians to ease the issue by making it easier for companies to recruit from outside the EU.

Alternatively, reforms should be implemented to encourage Danes to work more in order to avert lower growth, the organisation said.

READ ALSO: Denmark's proposal to recruit skilled foreign labour falls apart

Member comments

  1. If the government can’t see the fact that as a foreigner you begin with nothing (especially if under 30, and single etc.) and that high taxes, rent costs and cost of living, as well as other things you don’t get benefit that residents get by default, then I don’t know what does.

    How does Denmark help foreigners who start with nothing to not become a rent-slave. I have to pay half my salary after taxes to rent. I can’t find cheap rent, nor can’t afford to get a loan to buy a house because I am not old enough to afford it yet. I also am supposed to be high earning, but when it comes to other potential countries, I don’t get more ‘in hand’. This won’t continue for too long as i am sure others feel the same.

    Propose tax cuts to young foreign workers if you hope to keep them in Denmark.

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Labour shortage hits half of Danish companies in construction sector

A record-high shortage of labour at some Danish companies is exacerbated in some places by a lack of materials, according to new data.

A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour.
A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The construction industry reports a lack of labour at around half of all companies, according to a survey by Statistics Denmark, based on responses from businesses.

In the service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and cleaning, one in three companies reported a lack of workforce.

Some industries, notable machinery related businesses, also said they are short of materials currently.

The lack of labour is holding the Danish economy back, according to an analyst.

“Never before have we seen such a comprehensive lack of labour in the Danish economy,” senior economist Søren Kristensen of Sydbank said.

“It’s a shame and it’s a genuine problem for a significant number of the businesses which at the moment are losing revenue as a consequence of the lack of labour,” Kristensen continued.

“That is costly, including for all of Denmark’s economic growth. Even though we on one side can be pleased that it’s going well for the Danish economy, we can also regret that it could have been even better,” the economist said in a comment to news wire Ritzau.

Despite the lack of labour, businesses have their most positive outlook for years, according to Statistics Denmark.

The data agency based its conclusions on a large volume of responses from companies related to revenues, orders and expectations for the future.

The numbers are processed into a measure termer business confidence or erhvervstillid in Danish. The October score for the metric is 118.7, the highest since 2010, although there are differences between sectors.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage?