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Indians and Romanians among nationalities given most Danish work permits

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Indians and Romanians among nationalities given most Danish work permits
Denmark issued an increased number of work permits to foreign nationals in 2022. Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

New data shows that Denmark issued around 51,000 work permits in 2022, with Indians and Romanians among national groups providing the most foreign workers to the Scandinavian country.

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The data comes from an updated Statistics Denmark analysis reported by SMVDanmark, an interest organisation for small and medium Danish businesses.

The number – 51,000 – is the highest reported since SMVDanmark began tracking the figures in 2014. It is 11,000 more than in 2021.

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The largest proportion of foreign labour came from Romania, India and Poland. That was also the case last year.

The general increase in recruitment from abroad is primarily due a lack of labour experienced by Danish businesses in 2022, according to SMVDanmark’s political consultant Signe Bøgevald Hansen.

“Unemployment was low and it was therefore not possible to recruit from within Denmark. This was therefore done outside of Denmark’s borders instead,” she said.

Non-EU nationals saw the number of work permits issued to them increased by 46 percent compared to the previous year.

Signe Bøgevald Hansen said she saw evidence of such a strong trend as good news.

“In 2022, residency permits were given to 24,570 persons from outside of the EU. They came to strengthen Danish businesses and pay Danish tax,” she said.

“That is fantastic news for small and medium-sized businesses who certainly need the labour,” she said.

Low unemployment levels have resulted in business organisations, notably the Confederation of Danish Industry, repeatedly calling for more recruitment from abroad to be allowed.

Last year saw a majority in parliament pledge to support a proposal to reduce the Pay Limit scheme, an arrangement by which work permits are granted to non-EU nationals. However, the proposal was never passed into law because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called an election before it was voted on in parliament.

However, a change to the Pay Limit scheme similar to the one agreed last year is among adjustments to work permit rules which could be made by the new government with a similar objective of helping businesses to address labour needs by recruiting foreign workers.

READ ALSO: What do we know about Denmark’s plans to relax work permit rules?

Business organisations have previously called for further-reaching measures amid the ongoing labour shortage.

Hansen said she saw potential in the government initiatives.

“At SMV Denmark we are also pleased that the government on Tuesday will process a proposal to reduce the Pay Limit scheme permanently,” she said.

The Pay Limit scheme allows work permits to be granted to applicants who have been offered a wage above a set amount by a Danish employer.

Under the existing rules that minimum wage is around 448,000 kroner per year. The proposal could reduce it to 375,000 kroner per year.

Editor's note: a previous version of this article inaccurately stated that the Pay Limit had already been reduced on a temporary basis from December 1st 2022, as was the plan in a June 2022 political agreement. This is not the case because the general election prevented the agreement from being passed into law. The error has been corrected.

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