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Denmark adopts new rules for healthcare sector work permits

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark adopts new rules for healthcare sector work permits
Denmark has introduced new work permit rules for foreign healthcare professionals. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark is to introduce new work permit rules aimed at making it easier to recruit foreign healthcare professionals.

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Foreign healthcare professionals could find it easier to take a job and begin working in Denmark after parliament approved simplified work permit procedures.

The new rules are the result of one of a number of recently-passed bills passed related to work and residence permits.

The bill, L170, was passed by parliament on Thursday and, broadly, makes it easier for foreign health professionals to begin working in Denmark by exempting them from residence permits while they are on the authorisation scheme through which their qualifications are eventually authorised by Danish authorities.

In a statement, the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), which processes work permit cases, also said that Denmark’s “Positive List” for skilled workers would be extended to include social and healthcare workers with a quota of up to 1,000 people.

For people from countries outside the EU, the positive lists represent one of the best routes to a job in Denmark, with the first list outlining the qualified professions in demand in Denmark, and the second the skilled trades where there is a shortage of qualified labour. 

If someone from outside the EU has been offered a job in Denmark in any of the professions on these lists, they can apply for a work permit through the scheme. 

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

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The extension of the list means that if, as of July 1st (when the new law takes effect), is a shortage of social and healthcare workers, it will become possible to grant work permits to foreign professionals within this sector according to the Positive List for Skilled Work, until 1,000 such permits have been issued.

The “authorisation scheme” is used for people trained as a medical doctor, dentist or nurse in a country outside the EU/EEA who want to apply for a residence permit in Denmark so they can learn Danish and pass the professional tests necessary to obtain Danish authorisation.

In this area, the new rules mean that “specifically requested” requested healthcare professionals “can obtain a residence permit for the purpose of obtaining Danish authorisation”, SIRI states.

This will depend on the Patient Safety Authority confirming that the healthcare professional is involved in an authorisation process, the agency says in the statement.

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In other words, healthcare professionals who qualify for the authorisation scheme will now be given a residence permit – and will be exempted from work permits – from July 1st, when the law takes effect. They will not have to apply for a separate work permit  if they want to work in Denmark once their qualification has been authorised.

This is a change from the current system, in which healthcare staff must get a work permit after approval.

READ ALSO: Which health professions need authorisation to work in Denmark?

“The rules also apply to people with an already valid residence permit according to the authorisation scheme, even if this does not appear on the residence permit,” SIRI said.

The agency will inform people who already have a residence permit under the authorisation scheme and who get new rights after July 1st, it said.

In another change to the rules, up to six months’ extended residence will be permitted to look for a job once the authorisation process has been completed.

SIRI’s website is to be updated with new guidance and application forms in line with the new rules, it said.

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