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Denmark – Work Permits and Working Legally

Necessity of Work Permits for Expats in Denmark

Working legally in Denmark as an expat often requires obtaining a work permit, also known as a residence and work permit. However, the necessity of a work permit depends on various factors, including your nationality, the type of work, and the duration of your stay in Denmark. In this article, we will explore the necessity of work permits for expats, who must make the application, exemptions, and other essential details related to working legally in Denmark.

Who Submits a Work Permit Application

In Denmark, the responsibility for submitting a work permit application typically falls on the employer who intends to hire the expat. The employer initiates the application process and provides the necessary documentation. However, the expat employee also plays a significant role by cooperating with their prospective employer, providing required information, and attending any necessary appointments or interviews.

It’s important for both the employer and the employee to understand the specific requirements and processes for obtaining a work permit in Denmark.

Exemptions from Work Permits

While work permits are generally required for expats working in Denmark, there are exemptions and special categories that may not necessitate a standard work permit. Some common exemptions and categories include:

  • EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals: Citizens of European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland have the right to work in Denmark without a work permit due to the principle of free movement.
  • Family Members: Certain family members of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals may also be exempt from work permit requirements.
  • Pay Limit Scheme: Highly skilled expats who meet specific income criteria may apply for a work and residence permit under the Pay Limit Scheme, which exempts them from the usual labor market assessment.
  • Positive List: Some professions are listed on the Positive List, and expats with job offers in these professions may be exempt from the labor market assessment.

It is essential for expats to thoroughly research these exemptions and confirm their eligibility with the relevant Danish authorities or seek legal advice to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

Types of Work Permits for Expats in Denmark

Denmark offers several types of work permits and residence permits to accommodate different categories of expat workers. The most common work permit categories include:

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  • Pay Limit Scheme Permit (Pay Limit Scheme): This permit is designed for highly skilled non-EU/EEA/Swiss workers who have a job offer with a minimum salary threshold.
  • Positive List Permit: expats with job offers in professions listed on the Positive List may obtain this permit.
  • Corporate Scheme Permit (Corporate Scheme): Companies with a specific number of employees in Denmark can apply for work permits for their employees under the Corporate Scheme.
  • Startup Denmark Permit: Entrepreneurs seeking to establish innovative businesses in Denmark can apply for this permit.

Each type of permit has its own eligibility criteria and requirements. expats should consult the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration or seek legal advice to determine the most suitable permit for their situation.

Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Denmark

The process of obtaining a work permit in Denmark involves several key steps:

  1. Job Offer: expats seeking employment in Denmark must secure a job offer from a Danish employer. The job offer is a fundamental requirement.
  2. Employer’s Role: The Danish employer initiates the work permit application process and provides the required documentation to the relevant authorities.
  3. Document Submission: The expat employee, with the support of their Danish employer, submits the work permit application, along with the necessary documents and fees, to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).
  4. Processing Time: Work permit processing times can vary depending on the type of permit and the specific circumstances. Applicants should check with SIRI or their employer for current processing times.
  5. Work Permit Approval: Once the work permit is approved, the expat employee is notified and can proceed with the next steps, such as obtaining a visa if required.

It is essential to follow the prescribed procedure diligently and provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays or potential rejections.

Documents Required for a Work Permit in Denmark

The documentation required for a work permit application in Denmark may vary depending on the specific permit category and individual circumstances. However, common documents typically include:

  • Valid Passport: A passport with an expiration date beyond the intended period of stay in Denmark.
  • Job Offer Letter: A formal job offer from a Danish employer, specifying the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance coverage for the entire stay in Denmark.
  • Photographs: Passport-sized photographs that meet specific requirements.
  • Evidence of Accommodation: Documentation showing suitable accommodation arrangements in Denmark.
  • Application Form: Completion of the relevant work permit application form.

It is crucial to verify the specific document requirements with the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) or your employer.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Denmark

Obtaining a work permit in Denmark may involve various costs, which can vary depending on the type of permit and individual circumstances. Common expenses related to work permits may include:

  • Application Fee: The fee associated with processing the work permit application, which is typically paid by the employer.
  • Health Insurance: The cost of health insurance coverage, which is mandatory for all residents and workers in Denmark.
  • Legal Fees: Some expats choose to seek legal or immigration consultancy services, incurring additional fees.
  • Visa Fee: If a visa is required in addition to the work permit, there may be visa application fees.

Expats should budget for these costs and confirm the current fee structure with the relevant authorities or their employer.

Reliable Sources for Information on Working Legally in Denmark

Expats seeking reliable information on working legally in Denmark can refer to various sources:

  1. Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI): SIRI’s official website provides comprehensive information on work permits, residence permits, and immigration procedures in Denmark.
  2. SIRI Contact Information: Contact SIRI directly for specific inquiries or assistance with work permit applications.
  3. SIRI Application Guide: Access detailed guides and checklists to help you navigate the application process.
  4. Work in Denmark: The official portal for international recruitment in Denmark provides valuable information for job seekers and employers.
  5. Local Danish Embassies and Consulates: Danish diplomatic missions in expats’ home countries can offer guidance and assistance with visa and work permit applications.

Staying informed about the latest immigration policies and requirements is essential, as they can change over time. expats should rely on official government sources and seek professional advice when necessary to navigate the complexities of obtaining a work permit in Denmark.