Updates on Denmark Immigration in 2016

Immigration across much of the Eurozone is a popular topic amongst not just fellow european citizens, but also potential immigrants from other countries.  As of the time of this writing there is a great debate amongst European Union countries as to the immigration policies of individual countries, how those may impact security, and what each state’s role is in the overall immigration picture.

While we don’t aim to address any major political issues here, it is important to relay the rules and policies Immigration into Denmark.

Denmark Immigration policies have changed significantly over time, as is the case with most countries, and today they are fairly consistent with those of our European Union counterparts.   The post-World War II period saw a huge increase in immigration to Denmark from southern Europe and middle eastern countries, primarily due to the manufacturing boom the economy experienced in that post war era.  This came to a rather sudden stop in the 1970s due to stricter immigration policies set forth by the government, primarily due to the burgeoning oil crisis that had a severe impact on Danish jobs, and the economy as a whole.

Today the latest data is the nearly 55% of those granted permanent residence in Denmark are a result of common European citizenship.  Student visas compromise another 20% of long term foreign visitors, and the rest are labor workers, family reunions, and those seeking political asylum.

Today Denmark Immigration is at an all-time high.  With political unrest and economic challenges in areas of Europe and the Middle East, the famed “Happiest Place in the World” is a popular destination for many looking for a better life.

So the question is, how can one achieve Danish citizenship, and live permanently in Denmark?

Denmark is one of the most active member of the EU in recruiting skilled workers to the country.  It has a system much like that of the United Kingdom in which potential immigrants are scored on a points system, called the Green Card Score.

The Green Card Score classifies potential candidates based on several categories, including labor skill, education, age, language skills, and work experience.  Obtaining a permit under this Green Card allows you to stay in the country for a period of 3 years.

In order to qualify you must score at least 100 points total across all of the categories.  A further breakdown of the categories and their scoring schemas can be found at lifli.com.

In addition to the Green Card Score Denmark also actively looks for skilled workers in areas of the job pool for which there just aren’t enough local candidates.  In the Positive List, you can obtain a work and residence permit if you are highly qualified for one of the job descriptions that the department of commerce deems there a significant unmet demand.

The Positive List is categorized into one of 8 different work sectors, each of which has a high demand, and low supply of local talent.  These categories are:

  • Academic Work (including research, academic writing, engineering, lawyers, physicians, and other professional occupations typically requiring specialized training).
  • Construction
  • Education and tuition – this covers most students
  • Freight and Postal
  • Hotel and Food Services Businesses
  • Healthcare
  • IT and Telecommunication
  • Educational, Social and Religious Roles

Visa Types

There are 3 main categories under which you may stay in Denmark for an extended period of time.  The first is a standard Visa.

Typically a standard visa that would apply in Denmark is also good for the entire Schengen region.  As of 2015 that includes:  Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  While in the Schengen region under this standard stay visa you are not permitted to work, however.  This is the solution that most casual, long term tourists would take to staying in ‘continental Europe’ for an extended period of time.

Work Permits and Residence

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has detailed information about the different policies in place to properly qualify for long term residence within Denmark.  Aside from the standard 3 month visa that many longer term tourists would apply for there are special considerations to be given for Students, Interns, Au Pairs, Working Holiday permits, Family Reunification, and Asylum.

One of the interesting things about these long term work permits is that they require several forms of biometric identification screening.  As security is top of mind for many this is a nice feature that should reduce on counterfeit identification and go one step further to making Denmark a safer place.

Permanent Residence

After you have resided legally in Denmark for a period of at least 5 years and have held a work permit during that time you are eligible for a permanent residence permit.  During this period you do not have to maintain the same residency permit for the entire duration.  For example you can begin under a student visa and then begin working under a work permit.  As long as you have legally been a resident of the country for a period of 5 years you are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Citizenship

After you have obtained permanent residence status you can begin exploring the path to becoming a Danish citizen.  The Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing has detailed information about how to become a Danish citizen on their homepage.

In December 2014 the Danish government amended the Nationality Act, allowing foreign nationals to retain dual citizenship, assuming that the other country involved also allowed for this.  Be sure to check with the country you are emigrating from to ensure that both countries allow for dual citizenship if that is your goal.

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