Ukrainian refugees can work in Denmark before receiving residence permit

Ukrainian refugees are from Friday permitted to work in Denmark while awaiting the outcome of their residence and work permit applications.

The Ukraine-Moldova border on March 11th
The Ukraine-Moldova border on March 11th. Ukrainians are now permitted to work in Denmark while their residence applications are processed. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Refugees from Ukraine who apply for residence in Denmark under a special law do not need a permit to begin working, only a receipt showing proof they have submitted an application. This means they can begin working as soon as their applications are in.

Parliament in March passed a special law aimed at speeding up the process of issuing residence permits for Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Denmark since the Russian invasion of their country began on February 24th.

Employers have earlier bemoaned long processing times for residence applications for Ukrainians in line to begin work, broadcaster DR reported.

Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye earlier this week said that Ukrainian refugees would no longer need to wait for their paperwork to come through before they begin working, should they be offered a job in Denmark.

Specifically, Ukrainians who have applied for residence in Denmark under the special law and have submitted biometric data as part of that process will be allowed to work while the are awaiting the outcome of their application.

READ ALSO: How Ukrainians can apply for residence and work permits in Denmark

“Many Ukrainians in Denmark want to go to work. At the same time, we are hearing from companies that they need people. But processing of their applications takes a little while. I have therefore decided that people who apply for residence under the special law can be hired from Friday (April 22nd),” Tesfaye said in a statement.

“We’ll have to get their papers in order afterwards,” he added.

“This is a helping hand to Danish businesses and I therefore also have a clear expectation that no Danish companies abuse this situation [to underpay Ukrainians],” he added.

According to ministry figures, 23,086 people have applied for residence in Denmark under the special Ukrainian law as of April 19th. 5,423 permits have been issued.

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UPDATED: Denmark’s government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Denmark’s government has said it will support Ukraine’s bid for EU membership after the European Commission deemed the country’s candidacy viable.

UPDATED: Denmark's government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Ukraine’s bid to be part of the EU got a majority backing in Danish Parliament on Friday after the European Commission backed the bid.

“It is really, really important that Europe opens the door for Ukraine, so that we can get started to ensure that Ukraine can be ready for EU membership,” foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Aastrup told newswire Ritzau.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter that Denmark was looking forward to continuing cooperation with Ukraine on reforms.

The possibility for Ukraine to become part of the EU is conditional on Ukraine implementing reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. She added that “good work has been done.”

Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU but the whole process can take years.

“When a candidate’s status is granted, it is not the same as Ukraine being ready to join the EU. There are a large number of criteria to be met and there are a large number of outstanding ones that Ukraine lacks. These are some of the things that are being addressed”, Michael Aastrup said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will attend a meeting in Brussels next week where the recommendation from the European Commission will be voted and signed off by the EU’s 27 member states. France, Germany and Italy have also already backed Ukraine’s bid but the decision has to be unanimous.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that status as a candidate for EU membership is vital to his country, while the country’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the question could be decisive in the war to defend Ukraine from invasion by Russia.

READ MORE: Number of Ukrainian refugees working in Denmark triples in one month