Au pairs in Denmark: 35 people banned over poor working conditions

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Au pairs in Denmark: 35 people banned over poor working conditions
A file photo showing an anonymous au pair in Denmark. Photo: Sarah Christine Nørgaard/BT/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish authorities have banned 35 individuals in the last 2 years from hiring au pairs due to reports of poor working conditions.


The agency that processes work permit applications for au pairs, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), rejected 35 persons who wanted to obtain permits to hire an au pair in Denmark, newspaper Politiken reports based on figures obtained from SIRI.

The rejections relate to issues including underpayment and overtime, according to the report. People in Denmark on au pair visas are permitted to work no more than 30 hours per week and must be paid at least 4,700 kroner per month.

In one of the cases, a family made their au pair clean 14 rooms that were to be rented out, Politiken writes. The au pair was also made to wash the clothes of guests in the rented rooms and clean the property's pool and other areas.

Denmark’s au pair visa scheme was criticised as being "camouflage for cheap labour" by Karsten Hønge, employment spokesperson with the Socialist People’s Party (SF).


Hønge told Politiken the scheme should be scrapped.

The Minister for Immigration and Integration, Kaare Dybvad Bek, said he is "satisfied that the authorities can intervene with a ban when such abuse of the system takes place".

“But having said that, I am naturally prepared to discuss any inappropriateness of the scheme with the other parties in parliament and also answer questions at committees, if there is a desire for this,” Bek told Politiken in a written comment.

A number of negative stories about the au pair scheme have emerged in the Danish media in recent years, primarily revolving around foreign nationals who are brought to Denmark on au pair visas but actually used as cheap labour.

The number of people granted work permits in Denmark under the scheme has fallen in recent years, according to data from the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen).

In 2018, 1,311 such permits were granted to au pairs. The figure fell to 1,016 the following year and has since been around 680 permits annually.

Some 247 residence permits have been granted to persons on the au pair scheme during the first six months of 2023.


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