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Danish opposition parties want new strategy for foreign labour

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish opposition parties want new strategy for foreign labour
L-R: Conservative party leader Søren Pape Poulsen, Martin Lidegaard, leader of the centre-left Social Liberals, and Alex Vanopslagh of the libertarian Liberal Alliance. The three opposition parties want Denmark to rethink its approach to recruiting skilled labour from abroad. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

An alliance of three Danish opposition parties say they want a clear strategy to ensure Denmark can attract more skilled foreign labour to meet the needs of businesses.

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A column submitted to the Børsen newspaper by the leaders of three opposition parties sets out their demands for a foreign labour recruitment strategy.

The column is written by Conservative party leader Søren Pape Poulsen, Alex Vanopslagh of the libertarian Liberal Alliance and Martin Lidegaard, leader of the centre-left Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre).

The three party leaders argue it is unquestionable that Denmark benefits from skilled foreign labour.

“The government policy paper [of December 2022, ed.] contains positive notes in relation to reducing case processing times. But good intentions are not enough – and they don’t go far enough,” the column reads.

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“That is why we three parties urge a new approach to international labour in Danish politics,” it says.

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

Several concrete proposals relating to foreign labour are set out by the three parties.

The Pay Limit, a salary requirement that is key in a number of Denmark’s work permit schemes, should be further reduced to 360,000 kroner per year, the parties say.

A rule requiring wages be paid into a Danish bank account should meanwhile be scrapped, they suggest.

Business organisations have previously criticised the bank account rule, saying related bureaucracy can mean that new arrivals in Denmark can sometimes go for months without a salary, potentially putting them off taking jobs.

It can take months for a new arrival in Denmark to get a Danish bank account because they first need to get a residency permit, then a CPR number, a Danish address, access to the MitID digital identification service, and a health insurance card. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Danish businesses want to scrap bank account work permit rule

In addition to specific proposals, the three opposition parties called for two new basic principles to underlie future strategy.

The first of these is that Denmark should welcome all foreign newcomers to its labour market provided they can provide for themselves to a set degree, have not committed crimes and respect Danish rules and labour market standards.

The second is that it should be made easier and quicker for companies to hire foreign staff.

That would include a model that allows new hires to begin working while their work permit cases are still being processed.

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