The Positive List
If you have been offered a job in a profession currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals, you have particularly easy access to the Danish labour market. These professions are listed on the Positive List. The scheme also applies to persons who have applied for asylum in Denmark.
If you already hold a Danish residence permit based on family reunification or asylum, or hold a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a work permit in order to work in Denmark.
It is your own responsibility to obtain a work permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.
The Positive List
The Positive List consists of a number of professions currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals.
See a full overview of all job titles on the Positive List
Your job must be listed on the Positive List. Furthermore, you must have a written job contract or job offer which specifies salary and employment conditions. Salary and employment conditions must correspond to Danish standards.
The minimum educational level required for a position on the Positive List is a Professional Bachelor's degree, such as a pedagogue. In some cases, you must obtain a Danish authorisation. This is explicitly stated on the Positive List. For example, foreign-trained doctors must be authorised by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority.
Read more about authorisation for foreign-trained doctors on the website of the Danish Health and Medicines Authority (new window)
Read more about access to regulated professions on the website of the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation (new window)
If you submit your application from your country of origin or another country where you have legally resided for at least the past three months, you can be granted a residence permit valid for one month prior to the date your job begins. This is to enable you to get settled in Denmark. It is a condition that you declare that you can support yourself and any accompanying family members for one month prior to beginning at your new job. If you do not declare this, your residence permit will be valid for 14 days prior to the date your job begins. If you submit your application in Denmark, your residence permit will be valid from the date your job begins.
If you get a residence and work permit on the grounds of an unlimited job contract (that is, a job contract with no expiration date), the duration of your permit will normally be four years. After this point, you can apply for an extension of your permit if you are still in the same job. If your permit expires, and you have applied for an extension, and you are still in the same job, on the same terms, as when you got your original permit, then you can stay in Denmark and continue working while your application for an extension is being processed. Your permit can be extended even if your job title is no longer on the Positive List, provided that you are still in the same job, on the same terms.
If you get a residence and work permit on the grounds of a temporary job contract, the duration of your permit will be the same as that of your job contract plus six months. The reason is that you are granted an additional six months’ permit to allow you to look for a new job when your job contract expires. During the job seeking period you are not allowed to work. If you manage to find a new job, you must apply for a new residence and work permit no later than on the day you begin at your new job.
If you lose your job
If you lose your job through no fault of your own, e.g. due to cutbacks, you can get an additional six months' residence permit to look for a new job. In this case, you must apply for a residence permit for jobseeking no later than two days after your job contract expires. You can apply by letter or by using the application form AR1 (filling in only the applicant’s part). Please attach a letter of termination or other documentation which explains why you lost your job, and a copy of your valid passport. Please note that a fee must be paid for this type of application, and the receipt must be attached. In order to get the additional six months' residence, it is a condition that you are not receiving public assistance under the active social policy act (social benefits).
If you find a new job
If you find a new job while you are working, or while you hold a residence permit for jobseeking, you must apply for a new residence and work permit. However, you may begin your new job before you have received your new permit, provided that you submit your application no later than the day you start your new job.
Important to hold a valid passport
A residence permit can only be granted or extended until three months before your passport expires. In other words, if your passport expires in 12 months, your residence permit can only be extended by nine months.
This applies both to the foreign employee and to spouses and children who apply for a residence permit as accompanying family members. Please note: Even infants, including children born in Denmark, must hold a valid passport.
If you would normally get a permit of, for example, three years, but your passport expires in two years, your permit will be shortened, that is, the duration of your permit will be shorter than would normally be the case. Once you have renewed your passport, you should apply for an extension of your permit, attaching a copy of your new passport.
How to apply
Read more about how to apply for a residence and work permit as an employee
If you have been granted a residence and work permit under the Positive List, you can bring certain family members.
Read more about residence permit for accompanying family members
The contact person arrangement
If you represent a company or business in Denmark with foreign employees, you can be assigned a contact person in the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment who can guide you through the rules and regulations.
Read more about the contact person arrangement