Nearly 1,800 join call for Denmark to suspend work permit rules

More than 1,770 people in Denmark have signed a petition calling on Denmark's immigration minister to suspend income and work requirements for foreign workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Nearly 1,800 join call for Denmark to suspend work permit rules
The open letter called on Mattias Tesfaye to Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen / Ritzau Scanpix

The petition, launched by Naqeeb Khan, of the Danish Green Card Association, called for Denmark's government to excuse foreigners living in Denmark for least three months the requirement that they earn a minimum annual income of 320,000 kroner and work at least 120 hours a month. 

The alternative, they warned, would be “a humanitarian crisis as thousands of immigrants might lose the right to stay in Denmark through no fault of their own”. 

“In the current global corona pandemic and economic lockdown, where thousands of immigrants have lost their jobs, it is now impossible to fulfil these requirements,” the signatories complained. 

In an open letter to Denmark's immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye, Khan said that foreigners living in Denmark were facing a double crisis due to coronavirus: as well as facing the lockdown, due to Denmark's strict immigration rules, they risked expulsion from the country when they next sought to renew their work permits. 

“One might justify these strict rules in normal circumstances, but asking for the same level of income and work despite Covid-19 crisis and lockdown is unfair and irrational,” Khan wrote. 

He said temporary waiving of work permit requirements would be in keeping with other special measures taken by the government during the crisis, “like the suspension of 225 hours of work per year rule for Danish national getting cash help and the handshake requirement for new citizens”.

“This will give a fair chance to these immigrants to fulfil the requirements when the lockdown is over,” he argued. “These immigrants will thus be able to focus on their daily life and safeguard themselves and their families from coronavirus and its aftermath.” 


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READER QUESTION: Do Denmark’s residency rules allow you to take a side job?

A reader asked about what the rules are for taking a second side job if you have a work permit or residency permit in Denmark. Here are the rules.

READER QUESTION: Do Denmark's residency rules allow you to take a side job?

READER QUESTION: If I came in pre-Brexit on the grounds of self sufficiency, and I’m on a temporary residency permit, am I allowed to do a bit of self employed work to top my funds up?

For this reader, the rules are quite clear.

“A temporary residence permit granted according to the Withdrawal Agreement (Brexit) also includes the right to work in Denmark – even though the person has resided in Denmark on grounds of sufficient resources or as an economically inactive person,” the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), told The Local via email. 

But for other non-EU citizens, here under one of Denmark’s many job schemes, such as the Fast-track scheme, Pay limit scheme, and the Positive lists, or under the various researcher schemes, the rules are more complicated. 

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national?

You are generally allowed to get a second job, but you may have to apply for a separate work permit for paid sideline employment, (find information from SIRI here), and also fulfil various conditions. 

If you are a researcher with a permit under the Researcher scheme or the Researcher track under the Fast-track scheme, a Guest researcher, a PhD student, a performing artist or a professional athlete or coach, you are allowed to take up unlimited sideline employment without needing to apply for an additional work permit for sideline employment. 

If, however, you are employed as a researcher under the Pay Limit Scheme, then you have to apply for a special work permit for sideline employment.

People who received their residency permits under the Jobseeker scheme are not eligible for a sideline employment permit. 

For the other job schemes, you need to apply for a separate work permit for paid sideline employment, find information from SIRI here.

“For sideline employment, the salary must be the standard one for the job, and within the same area of ​​work as the main occupation,” SIRI said. 

For example, a musician might want a permit for sideline employment as an instructor at an academy of music, or a doctor might want a permit for sideline employment to teach at a medical school. 

You can be granted a sideline permit for as long as as the duration of your main work permit. 

If you lose your sideline job, you must inform SIRI. If you lose the main job that is the basis for your main work permit, your sideline job permit is automatically invalidated.