Danish municipalities launch recommendations for more foreign workers in welfare jobs

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Danish municipalities launch recommendations for more foreign workers in welfare jobs
The head of the national organisation for Denmark's municipalities has issued a plea for government action to recruit from abroad to fill labour gaps in the welfare sector. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The national organisation for Denmark’s municipalities, Kommunernes Landsforening (KL), has issued an 11-point action plans as it urges the government to take steps to fill welfare sector vacancies with staff from abroad.


In a statement issued on its website on Monday, KL said its 11 proposals would increase the supply of foreign workers it says is needed to resolve a labour shortage in the welfare sector, which comes largely under the administration of local authorities.

“In a situation where we are set to be in need of tens of thousands of staff, it is absolutely essential to get more competent and motivated foreigners to work in Denmark,” KL chairperson Martin Damm said in the statement.

According to the organisation’s statement, the social care sector alone will be short of 16,000 workers by 2030.

That means action is required now, KL argues as it puts 11 specific proposal on the table it believes will help address the issue.

“If we are to be able to deliver decent, caring and compassionate welfare care to the public, we need enough staff. It’s that simple,” Damm said.

The foreign workers are needed “in a situation where we lack tens of thousands of staff at our nursing homes, schools, kindergartens and residential facilities,” he said.


The 11 specific points in the proposal relate to attracting, integrating and retaining the foreign staff at Danish welfare sector jobs.

For example, KL wants the Positive List, a scheme through which work permits can be granted to applicants in in-demand skilled professions, should better reflect the needs of the welfare sector.

The organisation also wants the right to Danish language lessons to be extended and that the course count towards accrual of permanent residency rights.

It also wants more flexibility around training and working in English -- for example, in less public-facing roles -- and general streamlinign of bureaucratic processes.

READ ALSO: Denmark cuts back on 'positive list' of jobs eligible for work permits

“Bureaucracy and rigid rules should not come in the way” of getting appropriately skilled workers into jobs, Damm said.

The KL leader urged the government to take note of the proposal and act on the issue.

“We are ready to take responsibility at municipalities and we already have valuable experience at attracting international staff in many places,” he said.

“But we also need [parliament] to take the bull by the horns and set concrete measures in motion as soon as possible,” he said.


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