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Denmark scraps language test for nurses from non-EU countries

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The Local ([email protected])
Denmark scraps language test for nurses from non-EU countries
The Danish language abilities of nurses from outside the EU will now be assessed during a probationary employment, replacing an earlier requirement to pass a Danish language test. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Nurses from or trained in countries outside of the EU or EEA will no longer be required to pass a Danish language test to be approved to work in Denmark.

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The change takes effect as of Monday, the Danish Patient Safety Authority (DPSA) confirmed in a statement. The rule change applies to applications already received by the agency as well as to future applications from nurses for authorisation to work in Denmark.

Instead, nurses who relocate from outside of the EU to work in Denmark will be assessed during a six-month probationary period of work before their authorisation is approved.

“When your education is considered suitable for trial by us, you must complete a probationary position lasting six months, after which you can obtain Danish authorisation,” DPSA said in the statement.

This type of probationary employment means the nurse is hired for an initial six months on a full-time basis. During that period, the hospital can assess the employee’s abilities and communication skills. 

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Nurses whose applications were previously rejected because of the now-revoked language requirement can reapply for authorisation under the updated rules.

More information on the authorisation process is available on DPSA’s website.

Although a formal language test is no longer a requirement for foreign nurses starting work in Denmark, that does not mean they do not need to learn Danish.

“It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that an employed health professional has a sufficient level of Danish language competency,” the DPSA statement reads.

“This also applies for probationary appointments. Therefore, Danish language competencies will still be necessary to be approved for authorisation and to work as a nurse in the Danish health service, even though it is no longer an obligation to pass a language test,” it said.

The change to the language test rule for nurses follows the announcement earlier this year of several measures aimed at addressing staff shortages and waiting times in the Danish health service.

The government and Danske Regioner, the national body which represents the regional health authorities, agreed in February on measures aimed at cutting waiting times, including through recruitment.

The change brings Danish language criteria for nurses from non-EU countries in line with the requirements used for nurses from EU and EEA countries.

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