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WORKING IN DENMARK

Denmark takes ‘far too long’ to approve qualifications of foreign medics

The Danish parliamentary ombudsman’s office has concluded that authorities take too long to approve qualifications and authorise foreign medical professionals who apply to work in Denmark.

hospital in denmark
Denmark's parliamentary watchdog says the country's Patient Afety Authority takes too long to process authorisation of foreign doctors. File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

A report by the ombudsman, which was released earlier this week, said that the processing time for applications had increased from 10 months in 2018 to as much as 3 years.

“That is far too long,” the ombudsman’s office said as the report was released.

“When a foreign doctor from a country outside of the EU or EEA applies for authorisation to work in Denmark, it takes around three years from when the Danish Patient Safety Authority receives the application to when the authority assesses whether the doctor’s training is suitable to be applied in practice,” it wrote.

That is despite the actual assessment of the application taking as little as “between two and five days”, the ombudsman wrote.

The report released by the parliamentary ombudsman’s office comes following an investigation into the issue by the watchdog. The Local has previously reported on the long waits faced by highly qualified foreign medics who seek to practice in Denmark.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark take so long to authorise foreign medical professionals?

“(Three years) is far too long. Not least when you consider that the cases in reality are sitting still for more or less all of that period and the cases are normally uncomplicated and quick to process,” parliamentary ombudsman Niels Fenger said.

The Ombudsman investigation began in June 2021 following reports in Danish media and parliamentary discussion of the issue, it said.

According to the Danish Patient Safety Authority, longer processing times have occurred as a result of a marked increase in the number of applications, while around one and a half months of the authority’s yearly calendar is allocated to the task.

As a result, an imbalance has occurred between the number of staff and the number of applications which must be processed.

As of June 30th 2021, 1,224 applications were awaiting assessment by the Danish Patient Safety Authority, according to the ombudsman.

The parliamentary watchdog also stated that the Ministry of Health has informed it that it, along with the Patient Safety Authority, is currently looking into ways to reduce the waiting time.

The 2022 budget includes 23.1 million kroner of spending aimed at reducing the backlog of authorisation applications from health personnel from non-EU countries.

The ombudsman said it would review the waiting times again in 2024 to assess whether these initiatives have had the desired effect.

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WORKING IN DENMARK

Denmark cuts back on ‘positive list’ of jobs eligible for work permits

Denmark has cut 15 job titles from its two positive lists of in-demand professions or trades eligible for work permits.

Denmark cuts back on 'positive list' of jobs eligible for work permits

Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) at the start of this year released a new “Positive List for People with a Higher Education”, which reduced the number of eligible job titles to 40 from the 46 which were on the list valid from July 1st until the end of 2022. 

The number of job titles in the “Positive List for Skilled Work“, meanwhile, has been reduced from 46 to 36.

The new lists will apply to anyone seeking a work permit between January 1st this year and the end of June. 

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

For people from countries outside the EU, the positive lists represent one of the best routes to a job in Denmark, with the first list outlining the qualified professions in demand in Denmark, and the second the skilled trades where there is a shortage of qualified labour. 

If someone from outside the EU has been offered a job in Denmark in any of the professions on these lists, they can apply for a work permit through the scheme. 

Siri updates the two lists twice a year on January 1st and July 1st on the basis of the Arbejdsmarkedsbalancen or “labour market balance”, prepared by the The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment, also biannually. 

The Arbejdsmarkedsbalancen lists which job titles are currently experiencing severe labour shortages, labour shortages, which are employable, and which are less employable. 

You can find the positive list from last July for people with higher education here, and the positive list from last July for people with skilled jobs here

As of January 1st this year, the following job titles are on the positive list: 

POSITIVE LIST FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGHER EDUCATION

Managers in the field of production and service: 

  • Head of product. Bachelor’s degree required. 

Natural Science and Engineering

  • Chemist: Master’s degree
  • Biologist: Master’s degree
  • Mechanical Engineer: Professional Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree
  • Civil Engineer: Professional Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree
  • Environmental Engineer: Professional Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree
  • Electronics Engineer: Professional Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree
  • Town Planner: Master’s degree

Healthcare 

  • Medical Doctor: Master’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Hospital Doctor;´: Master’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Nurse: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Veterinarian: Master’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Dentist: Master’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Physiotherapist: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish authorization
  • Occupational therapist: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish authorization

Education

  • Ph.D, Social Sciences: Master’s degree
  • Assistant Professor at a University College: Master’s degree
  • Subject Teacher at a Vocational Upper Secondary Education: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish official recognition
  • Upper Secondary School Teacher, Natural Sciences and Sports: Master’s degree + Danish official recognition
  • Independent School Teacher: Professional Bachelor’s degree
  • Primary School Teacher: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish official recognition
  • Child Care Worker/Support Worker: Professional Bachelor’s degree
  • Social Education Worker: Professional Bachelor’s degree
  • Special Education Teacher: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish official recognition

Economics, administration and sales

  • Auditor: Master’s degree
  • Accounting Controller: At least three years education at bachelor level
  • Financial Analyst: At least three years education at bachelor level

IT and communications technology

  • IT Architect: At least three years IT education at bachelor level
  • IT Engineer: At least three years IT education at bachelor level
  • IT Project Leader: At least three years education at university or business school level
  • IT Consultant: At least three years IT education at bachelor level
  • Programmer and System Developer: At least three years IT education at bachelor level
  • System Administrator: At least three years IT education at bachelor level

Law, social science and culture  

  • Legal Officer: Master’s degree
  • Psychologist: Master’s degree + Danish official recognition
  • Social Worker: Professional Bachelor’s degree
  • Priest: Master’s degree
  • Organist, cantor: At least three years education at bachelor level

Technician work in science, engineering, shipping and aviation 

  • Architectural Technology and Construction Manager: Professional Bachelor’s degree

Technicians and assistants in healthcare 

  • Dental hygienist: Professional Bachelor’s degree + Danish authorisation

POSITIVE LIST FOR SKILLED WORK

Science and Engineering Associate Professionals 

  • Laboratory Assistant
  • Geotechnician
  • Plumber
  • Machine Constructor
  • Foreman

Business and administration associate professionals

  • Import and Export Employee
  • Sales and Account Manager
  • Sales Consultant
  • Shipping Agent
  • Property Manager
  • Logistic Employee, sales and purchasing
  • Legal Secretary
  • Medical Secretary

Legal, social, cultural and related associate professions

  • Parish Clerk
  • Head Chef

General and Secretary Clerks 

  • Lead Office Clerk
  • Office Assistant

Numerical and material recording clerks

  • Bookkeeper
  • Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerk
  • Payroll Bookkeeper

Personal services workers 

  • Chef 

Personal care workers 

  • Social and Health Care Assistant: Danish authorisation

Market-oriented skilled agricultural workers 

  • Landscape Gardener

Building and related trades (excluding electricians) 

  • Bricklayer
  • Carpenter
  • Building Painter and Decorator

Metal, machinery and related trades workers

  • Welder
  • Blacksmith
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Industrial Technician
  • CNC-operator
  • Mechanic, passenger cars and vans
  • Crane Mechanic, agriculture and industrial machines
  • Agricultural Machinery Mechanic

Electrical and electronic trade workers 

  • Electrician

Food processing, wood working, garment making and other craft-related trade workers

  • Cabinetmaker
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