Preliminary figures issued by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration show that the number of work permits issued to non-EU nationals in 2022 was 21,553.
That represents an increase of more than 40 percent compared to 2021, when 15,167 permits were issued.
The number of work permits issued by Denmark has seen steady growth over the last four years, according to ministry figures.
In 2019, some 13,713 work permits were issued to non-EU citizens. The number dropped during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to 10,333 in 2020 before rising significantly in 2021 and 2022.
For work permits issued to EU nationals under the EU’s free movement rules, the numbers tell a similar story. Numbers released by the ministry show 18,578 such permits released in 2019, falling to 15,681 in 2020.
EU nationals were given 22,080 and 25,842 Danish work permits in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
It should be noted the British nationals would be registered under the EU category in 2019 and 2020 and the non-EU category in 2021 and 2022.
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“In a time with low unemployment it’s hugely positive that so many foreigners are choosing Denmark and contributing to our labour market,” Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek said in a statement.
“That’s a huge benefit for Denmark and the Danish economy. We currently need hands in both the public and private sectors and the many people who come here through business [permit] schemes contribute to growth and better service,” he said.
“I am very pleased we are doing well on attracting labour from outside while also having rules that take good care of Danish wage earners,” he said.
Despite the growth in permits and Bek’s positive view of them, businesses have called for more to be done to increase foreign labour and there is also some demand in the opposition.
The Confederation of Danish Industry said in August that Danish businesses are finding it harder than ever to recruit staff and could hire 38,000 new workers immediately if they were available.
The Social Liberals, a centre-left opposition party, in November said it wants Denmark to increase its foreign workforce.
“It is still far too difficult for Denmark’s businesses to bring foreign labour to Denmark. There are trip wires everywhere, and we have a whole catalogue of proposals,” Social Liberal leader Martin Lidegaard said at the time.
In its coalition policy agreement, the government, formed in December, said that it would “relax access to foreign labour for as long as unemployment is low.”
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