Danish parliament set to vote through relaxed work permit rules

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Danish parliament set to vote through relaxed work permit rules
Immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek speaks in the parliament in January 2023. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix)

Denmark's parliament is expected to vote on Thursday to make changes to Denmark's foreigners law designed to make it easier to for companies to hire internationally.


The bill went through its second reading on Monday without any Danish MPs making objections or calling for changes, suggesting it is likely to be voted through on Thursday without any serious opposition. 

The bill, which was submitted to parliament in February by Denmark's immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek, will permanently reduce the minimum wage required under the Pay Limit Scheme (Beløbsordning), making it easier for companies to recruit skilled workers from non-EU countries.


It will also open up the country's fast-track work permit certification scheme to companies with as few as ten employees, extend the job search period for foreign graduates of Danish universities to three years, add more job titles to the Positive List for People with Higher Education, and extend the Start-up Denmark scheme for entrepreneurs. 

"This may be a game changer for the smaller companies hiring employees within industries with lower salary thresholds where the new hire has only a few years of experience," Rikke Wolfsen, country manager for EY's Danish Global Immigration practice, said of the lower salary thresholds. 

The amendments, which should come into force on April 1st, will mean that non-EU citizens hired to work in Denmark will need to earn a minimum of only 375,000 kroner per year, down from 448,000 kroner under the old rules.

Wolfsen warned that jobs given to non-EU citizens hired internationally would still be subject to DISCO, the Danish version of the international classification of job titles, International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08). 

This means that if the role being hired for was normally paid 425,000 kroner, for example, employers will still have to pay this level, and not the 375,000 kroner minimum. 

"In general, third-country nationals employed by Danish companies must earn a salary that corresponds to that paid to Danish nationals in similar positions with similar educational backgrounds and work experience," EY wrote in a tax alert


A temporary version of lower salary threshold was part of a political agreement on strengthened international recruitment reached in June last year between a majority of parties in the Danish parliament. 

The reduction was set to remain in place for an initial three-year period. However, the proposal was never passed into law because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called an election before it was voted on in parliament. The renewed government proposal makes the reduction to the Pay Limit minimum wage permanent, rather than introducing it on a temporary basis.

Some parties had been pushing for the bill to also change an unpopular rule that requires the salaries of foreign hires to be paid into a Danish bank account requirement, but this has not made it into the current text of the bill. 


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