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WORKING IN DENMARK

Digital nomads: Who can work remotely in Denmark?

Covid-19 ushered in a new era of remote work opportunities, but being a digital nomad is still a legal grey area in some countries. Here’s how it works in Denmark.

Person working on their laptop in a cafe
The rise in remote working means more people are looking to work temporarily in different countries. Photo: Alizée Baudez, Unsplash

A digital nomad is someone who is not bound by where they work and can go from country to country, exploring while they work remotely. Denmark can be a tempting location to do this, due to a large number of co-working spaces, fast internet connection, widely-spoken English and a high quality of life.

However it’s not always quite as simple as that when there are visas and costs involved. It is the cost of living and high rental prices that has caused Copenhagen to be ranked as 70 out of 75 global cities on the The Work-from-Anywhere Index, compiled by Nestpick.com. Then there are the visas.

Does Denmark have a digital nomad visa?

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries, most recently Spain, have jumped on the remote work bandwagon and are offering eligible people a digital nomad visa for a set amount of time (usually one year or more).

Unfortunately, Denmark is not one of those countries. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely out of bounds- it just means knowing the different immigration rules for EU and non-EU citizens.

What are the rules for EU citizens?

If you are a citizen of Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden, you are free to enter, live, study and work in Denmark. You do not need a visa or residence permit.

Less than three months

Citizens of EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries can stay in Denmark for up to three months (90 days) without having to register as a resident.

You just have to show a valid passport, state the purpose of your stay, and have enough money for your trip. This is recommended at around 350 kroner a day or 500 kroner a day if staying at a hotel. 

If your stay is three months or shorter, you are allowed to perform certain types of work-related activity without a residence and work permit. According to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIIR), these activities include teaching or attending a course or participating in meetings, negotiations, briefings and training.

You need a residence and work permit if you take part in creating a product or changing a product, or if you contribute to the output of a company in any way, so you need to check this with SIRI before arriving in Denmark.

FOR MEMBERS: Can you travel in and out of Denmark if you lose your residence card?

More than three months

For stays of more than three months, you have to apply for a temporary residence permit. To get this, you need to be employed, self-employed, a student at a recognised educational institution or have enough money to support yourself financially.

If you are a job seeker, you are required to submit your application within six months after entering Denmark.

Once you are registered as a resident, you get a CPR number which is your social security number and allows you to access healthcare, childcare, open a bank account, among other things. Although the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does provide some health cover.

To register as self-employed, your business must be established and registered in Denmark. Checks will be made on the size of the turnover, VAT payments, invoices and accounts.

To get temporary residence based on supporting yourself financially, you must show you can support yourself and any family members for at least the first 12 months of your stay in Denmark.

The amount needed to get the permit is based on your individual circumstances of how much you would receive if you were claiming benefits, which is found here. For example, someone who is aged 30 and under needs to show they have 6,228 kroner a month for 12 months before tax. Someone with a child needs to have 8,716 kroner per month over 12 months. This will be assessed again after 12 months.

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

What are the rules for non-EU citizens?

Like EU and EEA citizens, some third-country nationals can stay in Denmark for up to 90 days out of every 180 days as a tourist. These countries include the US and the UK.

The 90-day rule applies to the entire Schengen Area though, so if you spend 90 days in Denmark you can’t then jump over the border to spend another 90 days in Germany. Instead, you will have to leave the Schengen Area if you do not have a valid visa.

As with EU and EEA citizens, if your stay is shorter than three months, you are allowed to perform certain types of work-related activity without a residence and work permit. These include teaching or attending a course or participating in meetings, negotiations, briefings and training.

You need a residence and work permit if you take part in creating a product or changing a product, or if you contribute to the output of a company in any way so you need to check this with SIRI first before arriving in Denmark.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can Britons living in EU spend more than 90 days in another Schengen country?

More than three months

If you are a young citizen of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand or South Korea, you can apply for a Working Holiday visa in Denmark.

These visas are designed to give young citizens from these countries the opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures. You can stay for up to a year and you are allowed to work a number of months during that year, as well as attend an educational course such as Danish language lessons. 

For other non EU citizens wanting to stay in Denmark for longer than 90 days, a work permit is needed, where you work for a company in Denmark. This then enables you to get a residency permit.

There are various ways to get a work permit, depending on your profession. A list of different types of work sectors and requirements needed, can be found on the website nyidanmark.dk.

These include Fast-track scheme, Pay limit scheme, Positive lists, Researcher, Employed PHD, Guest researcher, Special individual qualifications, Herdsmen and farm managers, Establishment card, Start-up Denmark, Trainee, Certification, ESS Scheme, Authorisation, Labour Market Attachment, Drill rigs and other mobile workplaces, Volunteer, Sideline employment, Employment for adaptation and training purposes, Work permit for accompanying family members.

Work permits are no longer than four years but you can apply for an extension three months before your current permit expires. 

Tax

Tax should also be considered as this is where it can get complicated without a dedicated digital nomad visa.

In Denmark you are eligible to pay tax after becoming a resident or living in Denmark for six consecutive months. If you own property outside Denmark or have non-Danish income, you should remember to declare this.  

So there are ways to set up in Denmark as a digital nomad. If you want to work for three months or less as either an EU, EEA or non EU citizen, it involves a conversation with SIRI to check your type of work is eligible on the 90-day scheme with no permit. As you don’t have a residence permit, this means you won’t have access to healthcare, childcare and other benefits but you don’t have to pay tax in Denmark.

For anything longer, it involves getting employed by a company in Denmark to get a work permit, or if you’re an EU or EEA citizen, showing you have savings or registering your business in Denmark. This then gives you a residence permit and access to healthcare, childcare and other benefits but also means you have to pay tax in Denmark.

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EQUALITY

Danish study concludes women earn less than men for same jobs

A Danish study has concluded that women are often paid less than men for doing the same job.

Danish study concludes women earn less than men for same jobs

The study, from Copenhagen Business School, analysed the salaries of 1.2 million people in Denmark aged 30-55 years.

On average, women earn 7 percent less despite having the same profession and same job as their male colleagues, researchers concluded.

CBS professor Lasse Folke Henriksen, one of the report’s co-authors, said the results suggests that the overall disparity between the wages of men and women in Denmark is not solely a result of the pay grades in the professions in which they work.

“The equality debate has for some time focused on wage hierarchy in female-dominated and male-dominated professions,” he said.

“But this suggests there is also a wage gap between men and women with the same job function,” he said.

The study does not specify reasons for the wage gap. Henriksen said further research will address this, but existing research offers potential explanations.

“Family relations mean a lot. Women who have children put more work into home care and so on. That could help to explain it,” he said.

Denmark is not the only country looked at by the study.

The study uses data registered from 2015 and finds an overall wage gap for all countries of 18 percent, with women therefore earning considerably less than men on average.

Along with France, Denmark has the smallest wage gap (7 percent) of all countries analysed. Nordic neighbours Norway and Sweden are close behind with 9 and 8 percent respectively.

The largest wage gap found by the study was 26 percent in Japan.

“So Denmark is well placed,” Henriksen said.

“We also have analyses from further in the past so we can see that the wage gap has shrunk over the years. That’s very positive, and that has also happened in other countries,” he said.

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