Danish visa scheme reform ‘not enough’ as companies say labour shortage is biggest threat

More than half of Danish companies said labour shortages were their biggest concern in a recent survey, while a spokesperson said that an adjustment of a visa rule for foreign workers was not enough to address the problem.

Danish visa scheme reform ‘not enough’ as companies say labour shortage is biggest threat
An annual survey of Danish companies has found that a lack of available labour is for the first time considered the biggest threat to businesses. File photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) found that over half of 8,000 companies in Denmark taking part in an annual survey said that a labour shortage was their biggest challenge.

In the survey, big and small companies alike responded to questions related to problems faced by businesses.

DI conducts the survey annually but labour shortages have not previously been cited as the most concerning problem for firms.

“For companies there is quite simply no more important agenda at the moment,” DI political director Emil Fannikke Kiær said in comments to news wire Ritzau.

“And it is crucial for all of the Danish economy that companies don’t miss out on growth and export because they don’t have enough staff,” he said.

Denmark’s labour shortage has repeatedly been highlighted by the business sector and discussed by politicians.


In June, a majority in parliament agreed to reduce the beløbsgrænse or Pay Limit for foreign workers, meaning the minimum wage to be granted a work and residence permit under the Pay Limit scheme was lowered.

The Pay Limit is one of several pathways by which non-EU nationals can apply for work visas in Denmark. All involve stringent criteria.

Kiær said the Pay Limit reform did not go far enough to alleviate the labour shortage.

“In the wider perspective, too little has been done for years. During the last two government administrations no honest reform was implemented which would have increased the labour supply. That won’t do [if it continues] in a third successive government,” he said.


Member comments

  1. The labour shortage line is drastically over used and a complete lie. There is plenty of available labour in Denmark with many expats and Danes struggling to find work but companies just want to undermine wages through diluting the labour force with foreign labour. Further reductions in the pay limit scheme are transparently efforts to sabotage wage growth which is insane during a period of high inflation.

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Age charity wants Danish schools opened abroad to solve worker shortage

Age concern charity DanAge (Ældre Sagen) says Danish social care education programmes should be opened in foreign countries to address the chronic labour shortage suffered by the sector.

Age charity wants Danish schools opened abroad to solve worker shortage

Danish welfare courses that take place abroad are a potential solution to a serious lack of staff in elderly care, the CEO of DanAge, Bjarne Hastrup, told newspaper Berlingske.

Germany, Spain, India and the Phillippines are potential locations for the schools, according to the charity.

“And my question to politicians would be: ‘If you’re not going to do this, what are you going to do?’,” Hastrup told Berlingske.

In addition to giving students social care qualifications, the schools would also teach them the Danish language and culture, Hastrup suggests.

Nurses from India and the Phillippines should also be allowed to travel to Denmark and work in elderly care while waiting for the nursing qualifications to be authorised by Danish authorities, DanAge proposes.

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

If the foreign nurses are denied authorisation, they should then be offered an alternative nursing qualification, which they would be able to study for in Denmark while continuing to work in elderly care, the charity said.

The proposal comes as DanAge on Thursday hosted a debate with Danish political party leaders at which it hoped to push for more political action on the sector’s labour shortage.

DanAge also wants au pairs – who can be granted temporary work and residence permits in Denmark under special au pair rules – to be offered a new work permit on expiry of their au pair contracts so that they can opt to stay in Denmark and work in the elderly sector.

Hastrup told Berlingske that the idea of training future staff in schools based abroad could be transferred to other areas of the health service which are also experiencing labour shortages.

It is unclear at the current time whether the charity’s proposals will garner political backing or momentum.

Danish work permit rules for non-EU nationals are restrictive, with one of the most popular pathways, the Pay Limit Scheme, requiring employers to pay a minimum wage high enough to prevent hires in many social care roles.

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