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EXPLAINED: How does Denmark decide work permit 'standard' salaries?

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How does Denmark decide work permit 'standard' salaries?
How does Denmark decide with a salary fits with national standards and when is the assessment needed? Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Denmark has introduced updated salary statistics for use in work permit applications. Where do the statistics come from and what type of work permit are they applied to?

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When assessing applications for work permits under programmes including the Pay Limit Scheme, the Fast Track Scheme and the Positive List, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), which is responsible for processing work permits, uses income statistics to decide whether a job that has been offered is within the Danish standards for salary.

The statistics are provided by the Confederation of Danish Employers (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA) and are updated regularly – most recently on June 17th.

SIRI uses these statistics to “assess whether an offered salary is customary according to Danish standards,” the agency states.

READ ALSO: Denmark scraps compulsory bank account work permit rule

Danish work permit rules require salary and other employment conditions offered to the foreign employee to be equivalent to those on the Danish labour market. This applies for first-time applications as well as for extensions.

For example, the Pay Limit scheme allows work permits to be granted to applicants who have been offered a salary by a Danish employer which is at or above the government-set minimum amount.

The salary standards are usually updated every quarter as new statistics become available. The update announced on June 17th is effective for applications submitted after July 1st, and a further update will be due on October 1st.

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As such, if you have submitted or submit your application by the end of June, the previous salary statistics will be used to check whether the salary has been offered fits with Danish standards.

READ ALSO: Restaurant manager refused Danish work permit as salary deemed too high to be believable

The specific work permit schemes to which salary standards are assessed is as follows:

  • Pay Limit Scheme
  • Supplementary Pay Limit Scheme
  • Fast track Scheme (pay limit track, supplementary pay limit track, short term track, researcher track) 
  • Researcher's Scheme
  • Positive List for People with a Higher Education 
  • Positive List for Skilled Work
  • Special Individual Qualifications Scheme
  • Herdsmen and Farm Managers Scheme
  • Internship Scheme
  • Employment for Adaption and Training Purposes Scheme

Additionally, people who apply for a separate work permit as an accompanying family members to someone with Danish residency rights will also have the salary of the job offer assessed as part of their application.

When does SIRI examine whether the job offer salary corresponds to Danish standards?

If your employment and employer are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and the salary is at least 71,020 kroner per month (2024 level), SIRI will not usually look more closely at the exact salary or compare it with statistics.

Collective bargaining agreements – overenskomster in Danish – are the agreements negotiated between trade unions and employers’ organisations every few years, regulating (many aspects of Denmark’s labour market, from wages to paid parental leave. 

However, if these circumstances are not set out in the job offer, SIRI will then assess whether the salary conforms to Danish standards.

If the agency finds that the salary does not correspond to Danish standards, it can ask for a comment from your employer and for a second opinion from the Regional Labour Market Councils (RARs), it says in an outline of how it applies the rules.

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