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WORKING IN DENMARK

More foreign nationals have full time jobs in Denmark than ever before

A record number of foreign nationals are active on the Danish labour market and now comprise over 10 percent of all people in full time employment.

Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage.
Foreign nationals make up more of Denmark's work force than ever before, according to a report, and there are signs the government could allow more to help ease the country's labour shortage. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The figure, reported by newspaper Berlingske, comes from an analysis by the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI), which found that 266,000 foreign nationals, reported to be a record number, were working full time in Denmark in October 2021.

As such, foreigners comprise 10.5 percent of total employment, according to the report.

The figure represents a notable increase over the last decade, having stood at 6.3 percent in 2011.

Foreign workers take up so much of the labour demand in Denmark that they are now indispensable, an analyst told Berlingske.

“There are so many workplaces which would not get by without foreign labour,” labour market researcher Thomas Bredgaard of Aalborg University told the newspaper.

Labour shortages were reported across most sectors in Denmark during much of 2021, with employment figures consistently increasing.

READ ALSO: Employment in Denmark grows for ninth consecutive month but is it sustainable?

The 2,895,000 people currently in work in Denmark is a record high level.

At the same time, unemployment levels are at their lowest since the period following the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s.

While generally opposed to easing rules on foreign workers, the government recently suggested it could be prepared to take steps to allow more foreign labour in response to the shortage.

In her New Year speech, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the government was “willing to discuss” the matter.

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party, an ally of the government’s in parliament, favours more lenient rules for foreign labour.

DI’s CEO Lars Sandahl also backed “new tone” from the government on foreign labour.

“It’s no secret that we, during 2021, have been very impatient to see solid political solutions for the massive societal challenge that labour shortage presents for the whole country across sectors,” Sandahl said in a statement.

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

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READER QUESTIONS

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. 

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