For members


EXPLAINED: How can people overseas get an IT job in Denmark?

So you’ve got a degree in computer science, data analytics, or something similarly technical, you’re a new graduate or someone with a couple of years of work experience under your belt, and you fancy moving to Denmark to work. Where do you begin?

People working at laptops
The government plans to make it easier for Danish companies to recruit abroad. Photo: Headway, Unsplash

Do I need a work permit to start working in Denmark?

The rules regarding residence and work in Denmark are administered by the Danish Immigration Service and The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.

If you are from an EU/EEA country, you can freely enter Denmark and begin to work upon arrival without needing a permit to work. The case is different for those who are not EU citizens.

For these people, there are various ways to get a work permit, which can be found at

For most IT and tech-related jobs, internationals are employed through the Fast-track Scheme, Pay Limit Scheme or through the Positive List for People with a Higher Education, in which an IT education is listed.

The work permit is secured through proof of employment – a signed contract – and so you must find a job before you submit your work permit application. Once you have a work permit, you can apply for a residence permit.

A residence and work permit based on a job in Denmark allows your family to come with you to Denmark.  A permit can be granted to your spouse, registered or cohabiting partner as well as children under the age of 18 living at home.

Holding a residence permit as an accompanying family member to an employee in general allows you the right to work in Denmark. Therefore, you do not need to apply for a separate work permit if you get a job.

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

If you are already in Denmark and have just completed an advanced degree – master’s level or higher – your residence permit as a non EU national will remain valid for an additional six months, allowing you to seek employment in Denmark.

How do IT consultants and other tech workers end up getting jobs in Denmark?

A large amount of IT workers come to work in Denmark as employees for the big Indian and global IT consultancies, such as Infosys, TCS, or Wipro, Accenture, Deloitte, or IBM. Once they are in Denmark, some then get hired by a local Danish company.

Others come to study for a Masters degree at a Danish university and then apply for a job, while some programmers and other skilled workers are hired directly by Danish employers either from their home country, or while working in another country in the EU.

READ MORE: What’s the difference between temporary and permanent residency in Denmark

So where do I begin my job search?

“LinkedIn is where you start,” Sheetal Ashar, a senior software engineer in Aarhus told The Local.

You can use LinkedIn’s job search tool to look for positions. The website will show you jobs that match keywords on your profile, but you can also customise search parameters to show you openings in specific cities, companies, or job titles. Setting your profile to public also means recruiters can contact you.

“I think a very clear and specific resume helps and you should write a cover let that highlights what you have done. Talking to recruiters can also help. If you look for the profile of the hiring manager and ask them what they are looking for, that enhances your chance to be noticed when you interview,” Ashar advised.

LinkedIn is where Ashar found her own job in Aarhus, after living in Denmark for a year looking after her son. She said the process was smooth and she now helps recruit for the company.

“We go to universities to hire student workers and interns, so if you find an opportunity like that you should go for it. We don’t pay but it can help build your network and you can find a job that way,”  she recommended.

Other IT companies can offer work visas to hire employees from abroad.

“My company sorted out the work permit for me and my family through the Fast-track scheme. I was never concerned about my work permit and extensions and I now have permanent residency in Denmark,”  Yogesh who works as a Senior IT Architect at in Aarhus, told The Local.

He moved from northern India with his wife and two children over eight years ago and first worked for Grundfos, after seeing a job advertised on LinkedIn.

“I was working with IBM in northern India where Arla is a client. While working on a project for them I got to know Denmark and the people who worked there and I loved everything about it. So I started looking for job openings where I could be part of a Danish organisation and by chance I saw a job opening at Grundfos, which I got,” Yogesh explained.

He has found that Danish companies have become increasingly international since he started working in the country.

“It is easier now than when I tried eight years ago to get a job, because a lot of internationals are part of Danish organisations and all organisations are focussing on diversity,” Yogesh said. This is something Sheetal Ashar has also noticed, particularly in Aarhus, where there are currently a lot of job opportunities for internationals in IT and technology.
Where else can I search for jobs?
‘The State of Denmark’ lists IT and tech-related jobs from companies across Denmark specifically suited for international candidates.
‘The State of Denmark’ campaign is part of the project ‘Talent to Denmark’ and is partly funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Danish Board of Business Development. Their website also gives advice about Danish work culture and life in Denmark.

READ MORE: What foreign residents need to know about Denmark’s pension rules

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For members


How have work permit rules been changed in Denmark?

After the Danish parliament last week voted to ease some work permit requirements, we take a closer look at which rules have been changed.

How have work permit rules been changed in Denmark?

Parliament to voted last week to make changes to Denmark’s immigrations rules designed to make it easier to for companies to hire internationally.

The bill, which was submitted to parliament in February by immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek, permanently reduces the minimum wage required under the Pay Limit Scheme (Beløbsordning), making it easier for companies to recruit skilled workers from non-EU countries.

It also opens up the country’s fast-track work permit certification scheme to companies with as few as ten employees, extends the job search period for foreign graduates of Danish universities to three years, adds more job titles to the Positive List for People with Higher Education, and extends the Start-up Denmark scheme for entrepreneurs. 

The new rules come into effect on April 1st, after which work permits can be applied for under the new rules.

Pay Limit Scheme 

The Pay Limit Scheme is an arrangement by which work permits are granted to non-EU nationals. Under the scheme, work permits can be granted to applicants who have been offered a wage above a set amount by a Danish employer.

Under the old rules that minimum wage was 448,000 kroner per year. The law change permanently reduces it to 375,000 kroner per year.

Foreign workers can now be given a work permit under the scheme on the lower wage, but it should be noted that that jobs given to non-EU citizens hired internationally are still subject to rules ensuring equivalent pay for the roles.

This means that if the role being hired for was normally paid 425,000 kroner, for example, employers will still have to pay this level, and not the 375,000 kroner minimum. 

Fast-track work permit 

The Fast-track Scheme allows certified companies to employ foreign nationals with special qualifications more quickly and easily than through the standard pathway.

If an employer and employee agree they want the new job to be started quickly, the employer can be given power of attorney to submit an application under the Fast-track Scheme on behalf the employee. It is a prerequisite that the employer is certified to use the Fast-track Scheme.

In short, this means that employers, by registering the scheme, can enable their foreign hires to be granted a temporary work permit so they can start their job immediately after arriving in Denmark, or – if the employee is not exempted from Danish visa rules – get them a permit including an entry visa within 10 days.

The new rules allow companies with as few as 10 employees to register for the scheme, a reduction from the minimum of 20 under the old rules.

Job search period for foreign graduates of Danish universities 

The outgoing rules allow students who have completed and been awarded a Danish Professional Bachelor’s (vocational), Bachelor’s, Master’s degree or PhD degree to can for an establishment card.

This is a residence and work permit that allows the graduated student to stay in Denmark for two years, the period of time the permit is valid, to enable them to apply for jobs and establish themselves on the labour market.

There are certain conditions attached to the establishment card: You must not give up your Danish address or stay abroad for longer than 6 successive months, and the permit does not allow you to work in other Schengen countries.

Under the new rules, all foreign nationals who complete degree programmes with the above classifications will automatically be given a three-year (a longer period than the two years given under the old rules) “job seeking period” in which they have the right to live and work in Denmark.

Positive List for People with Higher Education

The Positive List is a list of professions experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals in Denmark.

Danish Residence and work permits can be granted based on offers of jobs included in the Positive List. Applicants must have an educational background that makes them qualified for the job.

The Positive List is usually updated twice a year, in January and July, but the new rules open up this list to a broader range of applicants.

No information is currently available as to who will be covered by this broader scope, but the now-passed bill which implements the changes mentions that “regional labour market councils” and “specialised a-kasser” [unemployment insurance providers] can conclude there is “a national lack of qualified labour” and that job offers can thereby qualify for the positive list.

Start-up Denmark scheme for entrepreneurs

Start-up Denmark is a scheme for foreign entrepreneurs. Two-year work permits can be granted based on a business idea which must be approved by a panel of experts appointed by the Danish Business Authority. If the business is successful, the permits can be extended for three years at a time.

The scheme can be used by both individuals and teams of up to three people who want to start a business together in Denmark through a joined business plan.

There must be specific Danish business interests that favour of the establishment of the business in Denmark, and normal businesses such as restaurants or retail do not normally qualify under the existing rules.

However, like with the Positive List, the rule changes open the scheme to a broader range of applicants.

While it seems the new rules could benefit a broad target group of potential skilled foreign workers who see opportunities in Denmark, they “may be a game changer for the smaller companies hiring employees within industries with lower salary thresholds where the new hire has only a few years of experience,” Rikke Wolfsen, country manager Global Immigration practice with the Danish section of financial services company EY, told The Local in previous comments about the lower salary thresholds. 

Full details of the new rules and their relevant application pages and materials will be published on the website of the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), the agency which processes work permit applications, on April 1st.

We will also report additional detail relating to, for example, the Positive List and job seeking period for graduates.