Work permits For Members

How can a work permit holder stay in Denmark after losing a job?

The Local Denmark
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How can a work permit holder stay in Denmark after losing a job?
There are differences in what you're entitled to in Switzerland - especially when it comes to work - if you're an EU/EFTA national compared to someone from outside this area. Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

If you have a work permit in Denmark but lose your job, can you remain in the country while looking for new work? The answer depends on several factors.


Becoming unemployed is a huge stress for anyone, but it could be even more of a challenge for foreign nationals.

As a foreign national employed in Denmark, you have the option of joining an A-kasse (or arbejdsløshedskasse), a private unemployment insurance fund which administers unemployment benefits.


In addition to Danish nationals, both EU/EEA nationals and third country nationals are eligible to join an A-kasse. The right to unemployment benefits is the same for everyone provided they have legal residence and a work permit, regardless of nationality.

READ ALSO: A-kasse: Everything foreigners in Denmark need to know about unemployment insurance

But how long can you remain in the country after losing your job may depend on the kind of permit you have.

Work permits are no longer than four years but you can apply for an extension three months before your current permit expires. So you also need to apply for an extension to residency based on your work permit, which will be on the same conditions as you got the first one.

In order to extend your permit, your employment must not have changed. This means that you must be employed in the same position, by the same employer and under the same or improved terms of employment.

If you change jobs, you need to apply for a new work permit or if your salary or other employment terms are diminished, you must inform the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), the agency which processes work permit applications.

It should also be noted that if you have a resident permit based on your partner (sponsor’s) employment and their employment is extended, you must also apply for an extension of your residence permit.


On its website, SIRI states that if “significant changes to your terms of employment are made, you must apply for a new residence and work permit.”

However, if you have been granted a residence permit as a researcher or according to the Pay Limit Scheme or the Fast Track Scheme, specific rules apply.

READ ALSO: How have work permit rules been changed in Denmark?

If your permit was granted through one of these specific pathways, your job can change within the same university or company without you having to apply for a new work permit.

This can mean a new job role such as a promotion or a change to your research project does not invalidate your work permit, on the condition that your salary and employment conditions still correspond to Danish standards.

If your permit was granted through the Pay Limit Scheme or Fast Track Pay Limit track, your salary must also continue to meet the minimum salary requirement set by whichever version of these schemes by which you were granted a work permit.


If you change employer you must apply for a new permit, including for permits granted under one of these schemes. Your salary must still meet the minimum salary requirement. This applies even if the number of working hours has been reduced.


I’ve lost my job and have a Danish work permit. What do I do next?

If you have a residence (and work) permit in Denmark under the Fast-track Scheme, the Pay Limit Scheme, the Positive List or the Researcher Scheme, but lose your job, you must apply for a new residence permit while you look for a new job in Denmark. The application portal can be found on SIRI’s website.

This new permit is termed a “jobseeking permit” and is valid for six months. It does not allow you to work – if you are offered a new job, you’ll need to apply for a new work permit based on that job.

In some cases, the jobseeking permit might be granted automatically – for example, if you were granted a work permit for four years or less under one of the above schemes, and the permit was the same length as your job contract, which is set to expire.

You must have lost the job through no fault of your own (such as company cutbacks) and you must apply for the jobseekers permit within two days of your employment being terminated.

You cannot receive social security benefits, but this does not include A-kasse insurance which is paid out by a private provider. If you receive social security benefits from public authorities like municipalities, you will breach the terms of the permit.

If I get a new job?

You are allowed to stay in Denmark while you are waiting for a decision on an application for a new work permit.

If you have lost your job and have stayed in Denmark using a jobseeking permit, you may be able to work while your application for a new work permit for your new job is processed.

The rules that apply vary according to the scheme under which you were originally granted a Danish work permit. You can read more about them here.



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