Brexit For Members

Number of British citizens who move to Denmark at lowest in 15 years

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
Number of British citizens who move to Denmark at lowest in 15 years
Pro-Brexit supporters in London on January 31st 2020. The number of Britons immigrating to Denmark has dropped sharply since that date. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Some 854 British citizens moved to Denmark in 2021, according to Statistics Denmark, the lowest number in 15 years.


The number of British citizens moving to Denmark in 2021 was 552 fewer than the year before in 2020 and 855 fewer than four years earlier, in 2017.


The figures from Statistics Denmark in the table below show the clear impact of Brexit. Britons voted in favour of Brexit in a June 2016 referendum and the UK's exit from the EU was implemented at the end of 2020.

From this date onwards, British citizens have no longer been part of the EU and cannot live and work under the EU Freedom of Movement. Instead, they are subject to third-country rules, which involves stricter requirements to gain both temporary and permanent residency in Denmark, including the need for work permits.

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

Year Number of British citizens who moved to Denmark 
2021 854
2020 1406
2019 1584
2018 1682
2017 1709
2016 1575
2015 1370
2014 1230
2013 1136
2012 1028
2011 1009
2010 901
2009 876
2008 965
2007 880

Source: Statistics Denmark

Professor Peter Nedergaard from the Department of Political Science at Copenhagen University told The Local that he expects the lower figures are here to stay, because of the sheer amount of bureaucracy now needed to move to Denmark from the UK.

But he also pointed out that it will have affected the number of Danish citizens moving to the UK, which is also much harder to do after Brexit. 

Nedergaard attributed the lower figures of British people moving to Denmark between 2007 and 2010 to the business cycle in Denmark and how attractive it was to earn money in the country at the time.

Professor Marlene Wind from the Department of Political Science at Copenhagen University said she has noticed some effects of Brexit.

"In the universities, since Brexit we've seen a decrease in British citizens but an influx of other Europeans coming from the UK, who simply want to escape the UK and go for a job in Denmark, Sweden or Norway because we teach in English. Therefore getting out of the UK has increased enormously in the number of applicants for jobs in universities," Wind told The Local.

"The general interchange in terms of highly-skilled labour has serious consequences and we see that everyday. I also have colleagues trying to move to the UK who have jobs there and it's almost impossible to move because of the bureaucracy. Many have just given up," she said.



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