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Key law changes in Denmark in 2023 that you need to know about

Several new laws and rule changes are expected to enter into force or go through consideration in Denmark next year. The Local has compiled a list of the most important ones.

In 2023, Denmark will implement significant rule changes that will affect welfare, travel, immigration, and other areas of society. Photo by Rolf Blicher Godfrey / Unsplash

In 2023, there will be a number of significant changes to the rules and laws in Denmark that will affect multiple aspects of life in the country, including costs of living, the job market, welfare, travel, and immigration – to mention just a few.

The new government’s plan to relax access to foreign labour in Denmark for as long as unemployment is low and its inflation package – aimed at helping Danes cope with the rising living costs – are just some measures that will likely materialise in the year ahead.

In this article, we will go over these, and other, key changes expected to occur next year.

Making Denmark more accessible for skilled foreign workers

A new government policy may make it easier for skilled foreign workers to come to Denmark in 2023 by providing more options for obtaining a work permit.

The policy agreement between the three coalition parties in the new government states it will “relax access to foreign labour for as long as unemployment is low.”

This means making an existing deal to boost international recruitment permanent and taking measures to prevent social dumping, so foreign workers are given the same working conditions as Danes, the proposal states.

“In addition to this, the government will introduce a scheme with lower pay limits (beløbsordninger, ed.) for certified companies which are encompassed by controlled wage and working conditions,” it says.

An annual quota of work permits will be released under the scheme, which will be reviewed every two years, according to the plan.

“This will, under controlled conditions, give access to additional labour,” according to the policy proposal.

Streamlined family reunification?

The new Danish government could ease family reunification rules in 2023 – a break from the restrictive immigration policy seen in previous years.

Specifically, the new government plans to change language criteria applied in the family reunification process, as well as halve the so-called “bank guarantee” (bankgaranti).

This guarantee requirement demands couples deposit a substantial sum of money with municipalities. At the same time, the foreign partner is granted residence under family reunification rules.

You can find more information on these plans here.

Support measures aimed at addressing cost of living crisis

The new government plans to put forward an “inflation package” of support measures aimed at helping Danes struggling with high living costs caused by the inflation crisis.

The package is expected to include a new tax-free 5,000 kroner payment to senior citizens who receive the ældrecheck benefit – on top of the already-agreed 5,000 kroner.

The rest of the support package will focus on people who face drastic energy bill increases, mainly homes with independent gas heaters.
Furthermore, an allocation of 300 million kroner will also be set aside to help vulnerable families.

These measures were outlined in the policy agreement between the three coalition parties.

Deferred district heating bills

Starting in January, a new program will be implemented, allowing Danish businesses and households to postpone paying excess district heating bills.

The scheme is part of the previous government’s winter package aimed at addressing the record energy prices. In November, a scheme was introduced to allow people to delay payments for excess electricity and gas bills.

That means households and businesses can “freeze” their bill for 12 months at the same price they paid for the same amount of heating last year.

However, only the additional cost of the bill, not the entire bill, will be eligible for postponed payment.

When the 12-month period expires, an interest-free year will follow. Customers will then be able to choose whether to pay the excess amount to the energy company or pay it off over four years.

Important EU travel changes

Travellers should be aware of two travel-related updates within the European Union (EU) for next year.

Firstly, Schengen Area countries will begin implementing a new digital system (EES) to track the entry and exit of non-EU citizens at their borders starting in May 2023.

Additionally, the EU has introduced a COVID-19 certificate that may be required for travel in the region.

The EES system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The system will register the person’s name, type of travel document, biometric data, and the date and place of entry and exit.

This data will be kept in a centralised database on a rolling three-year basis that is re-set at each entry.

For people living in Denmark as non-EU citizens, it’s worth knowing that the European Commission has confirmed that EES will not apply to non-EU citizens who live in Denmark.

Education reform

The government plans to invest more funding in vocational education programs and shorten around half of university Master’s degree programs to be completed in one year instead of two.

Furthermore, the eligibility requirements for the state student grant (SU) will be stricter, with the grant being available for a shorter time in relation to the length of education.

You can find more information on the main policies of the new Danish government here.

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For members


KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in March 2023?

The release of the annual tax return, cheaper electricity and a switch to summertime. Here's what to look out for in Denmark this March.

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in March 2023?
The release of personal tax returns – årsopgørelse 
The release of the årsopgørelse (annual tax return, calculated and displayed on the SKAT website) is possibly the most important event on the Danish tax calendar. You can access the annual tax returns from March.
Within a set deadline which falls at the beginning of May, taxpayers can edit their tax information, such as changing income or tax exemption information.
Around three out of four taxpayers in Denmark get refunds after the yearly annual return, although others have to pay money back to the tax authority.
Prior to the publication of the annual return, you can check how much tax you’ve paid or are due to pay during the course of the year and edit your income and deductions on the preliminary version of the return, the forskudsopgørelse.
Cheaper electricity on the way for 2.5 million Danish customers
Two energy grid companies, Cerius and Radius Elnet, are to reduce their tariffs from March 1st. The two companies operate on Zealand and the smaller islands Lolland, Falster and Møn.

Tariffs were increased last year because the companies said they had a backlog of additional costs that they wished to trim.

Money raised from tariffs goes toward the cost of maintaining the electric grid and transporting energy to consumers.

The average tariff for customers in Radius’s area — Copenhagen, North Zealand and parts of Central Zealand — should drop by 18 percent from March, while the rest of Zealand will see their tariffs fall an average of 20 percent. 

New inflation package for low income families replaces subsidy scheme

The government has agreed on a package providing financial help to 40,500 young families in Denmark.

A recent winter inflation spending plan designated 300 million kroner for the purpose of assisting families who are struggling to cover costs as a result of inflation. 

It replaces a previous subsidy for families with children, known as børnetilskud, which expires on March 1st. Families who received the old subsidy will qualify for the new one, the government said.

The money will be paid out in two instalments, the first by the end of June and the second in August.

It is a one-off scheme and will not be repeated in 2024.

Government bill may pass to permanently ease work permit rules 

A government bill to permanently change the minimum wage criteria in a key work permit scheme could be voted through in March.

The government says the bill, which will permanently reduce the minimum wage required under the Pay Limit Scheme (Beløbsordning), will make it easier for companies to recruit skilled workers from non-EU countries.

Last year saw a majority in parliament pledge to support a proposal to reduce the Pay Limit scheme from 448,000 kroner per year to 375,000 kroner per year for three years. The proposal was never passed into law because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called an election before it was voted on in parliament.

The new government proposal makes the reduction permanent.

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

Switch to summertime means light evenings are back
The change to GMT+2 or summertime on Sunday, March 26th means an end to dark evenings for another season. Clocks go forward by one hour at 3am on the 26th, meaning one hour less of sleep that weekend to offset the change.
Politicians in Denmark and the EU have in recent years discussed scrapping the twice-yearly changing of the clocks for daylight saving, but it continues for the time being at least.
Tivoli Gardens opens for its spring/summer season
As the winter days start to fade, Tivoli in Copenhagen reopens. You have to wait for the end of the month on Friday 31st March but it will remain open until 24th September. There’s a special Easter theme, complete with lambs from 31st March to 10th April.