On 9 February 2023, a draft bill to amend the Danish Aliens Act (udlændingeloven) was tabled and designed to make it easier for Danish enterprises to recruit non-Danish labour. With this bill, the initiatives in the political agreement “Strengthened international recruitment” concluded in June 2022 between the former government and a number of other parties are made permanent.

The bill introduces a number of significant amendments to the Aliens Act making it easier in several areas for enterprises to employ persons from non-EU/EEA countries.

1.  Supplementary pay limit scheme

With a view to supporting Danish economy in the current economic climate and alleviating the labour shortage, the bill proposes to establish a new supplementary pay limit scheme. According to the existing pay limit scheme, an employee must receive a minimum annual salary of DKK 465,000 (2023 level). 

The new bill proposes that the supplementary pay limit scheme must be of such a nature that an employee will be entitled to a work and residence permit when obtaining a job paying a minimum annual salary of DKK 375,000. The threshold will be subject to annual adjustments.

In addition, the person in question must have concluded an agreement on or have received an offer of employment in an area in which the gross unemployment adjusted for seasonal variations at the time of the application for the preceding three months has not on average exceeded a level determined by the Minister for Immigration and Integration, see sub-section (32), and the position at the time of the application has been posted on Jobnet and the EURES portal for a minimum of two weeks.

Obtaining a residence permit will also be subject to the terms of pay and employment being customary. As is also a condition according to the current pay limit scheme, only pay actually constituting cash and cash equivalents, including disbursed holiday pay, may be included in the assessment of the wage level when a decision is to be made as to whether employment is on customary pay and employment terms.

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2. Expansion of the fast track scheme

A proposal is also included to expand the existing fast track scheme such that the condition that an enterprise must have 20 full-time employees in order to obtain certification is amended so that in future the requirement will be for the enterprise to have at least ten full-time employees.

The number of full-time employees at the time when the enterprise submits the application for certification will determine whether a company has ten full-time employees. An enterprise may thus be certified even though it may experience a short-term decrease in the number of employees after having filed the application for certification. However, extension of a certification is subject to the enterprise once again having at least ten full-time employees in Denmark at the time of filing the application for an extension. 

3. Expansion of the positive list

A proposal is also included to expand the positive list for persons with higher education. It is proposed that the professionally defined unemployment insurance funds be given the possibility of adding supplementary job titles to the positive list applicable to the entire country within the professional area of the individual unemployment insurance fund, and that the regional labour market councils be given the possibility of adding supplementary job titles to the list of their various regional areas. Furthermore, job titles are to remain on the positive list for at least two years.

4. Startup Denmark

The bill also proposes an expansion of the Startup Denmark scheme such that a non-Danish business owner wanting to open a branch of an existing enterprise in Denmark gets access to apply for a residence permit after Startup Denmark and that foreigners having already established themselves as successful self-employed traders in Denmark get the possibility of applying for residence permits through Startup Denmark to operate the enterprise.

It is proposed that the Act is to enter into force on 1 April 2023.