Denmark confirms deal to recruit 1,000 health staff from abroad

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark confirms deal to recruit 1,000 health staff from abroad
Danish politicians present a new agreement to hire 1,000 foreign care workers. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark is to allow more people to migrate to the country to work in its social care sector under a new agreement announced by the government on Wednesday.


A deal between the government and a majority in parliament will allow more people from abroad to be granted permits to work in the country’s social health sector as care workers or sosu-hjælpere in Danish.

The agreement was announced in a statement from the Ministry of Education and Research and later presented by the government at a briefing.

Specifically, it allows for a broadening of the positive list scheme, through which work permits are granted to people with qualifications in desired professions.

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

Government calculations estimate a likely shortage of 15,000 workers in the social care sector by 2035.

A quota set by the agreement will allow 1,000 of these to be filled by foreign staff by giving them access to work permits through the positive list.

“The labour shortage is by far the biggest problem for our health system and elderly care, so it makes no sense for us to get in the way of skilled foreign healthcare professionals who want to work in Denmark,” health minister Sophie Løhde said in the government statement.


Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek added that “we need more labour in our health sector.”

“I am therefore pleased that we are now expanding the positive list so that up to 1,000 social and healthcare workers can obtain residence and work permits,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark to speed up authorisation process for foreign medics

The minister was quoted by broadcaster DR as saying the agreement is “an important step towards solving our recruitment challenges”.

Bek’s party, governing Social Democrats, have previously been sceptical about attracting more foreign labour to Denmark.

The immigration minister said he does not believe that the agreement represents a relaxation of immigration policy.

“It is important that we separate immigration policy from foreign labour. We give tens of thousands of residence permits to workers every year and I don't consider these things to belong together,” he told DR.

The agreement may only be the first of a number of ways Denmark attempts to tackle its labour shortage in the sector with foreign labour.

Earlier this month, the government said it was in talks with India and the Philippines over a potential deal to bring in social carers from those countries.


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