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You must hold a residence and work permit in order to reside and work in Denmark, if you are a citizen of a country outside the Nordic countries or the EU/EEA. Whether you can obtain a residence and work permit depends, first and foremost, on your qualifications.

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.

These rules also apply in the case of voluntary/unpaid work.

Special schemes

A number of schemes have been designed in order to make it easier for highly qualified professionals to get a residence and work permit in Denmark.

The Greencard scheme makes it possible for highly qualified professionals to come to Denmark in order to seek work and subsequently work in Denmark.

Read more about the Greencard scheme

The Positive List is a list of the professions currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. Persons who have been offered a job in one of these professions, and who have completed the required education, have particularly easy access to the Danish labour market.

Read more about the Positive List

The Pay Limit scheme gives persons who have been offered a job with an annual pay above a certain limit particularly easy access to the Danish labour market.

Read more about the Pay Limit scheme

The Corporate scheme makes it possible for employees in a company outside Denmark to be stationed in the company's Danish subsidiary, parent or sister company or similar for a period of time.

Read more about the Corporate scheme

A person whose Danish residence permit on the grounds of, for instance, asylum or family reunification, has been revoked or denied extension, can be granted a new residence permit if he/she has held a job or operated an independent business for an extended period of time.

Read more about retaining foreign labour in Denmark 

Other possibilities for obtaining a residence and work permit

A residence and work permit can be granted, if professional or labour market considerations warrant it. When processing your application, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment will pay particular attention to the following:

  • whether there are available professionals residing in Denmark or the EU/EEA who are qualified to carry out the job in question (applies only to certain types of applications)
  • whether the nature of the job in question is specialised enough to warrant a residence and work permit. Normally, you will not be granted a work permit in order to fill ordinary skilled-labour vacancies, such as carpenters or bricklayers, or unskilled positions, such as pizza makers, delivery people, cleaners, etc.

Regardless of the specific circumstances, 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.

In some cases, you must obtain a Danish authorisation or similar. For example, foreign-trained doctors must be authorised by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority.

In some cases, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment will obtain a statement from the relevant branch organisation or regional labour market council in order to process an application.

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) 

Below are examples of groups who can be granted a residence and work permit because professional or labour market considerations warrant it:

Researchers have particularly easy access to the Danish labour market.

Read more about researchers

Trainees can work in a Danish company for a period of time for educational and training purposes.

Read more about trainees

Athletes can work in Denmark as professional athletes or coaches.

Read more about athletes


Self-employed persons can come to Denmark to establish a business.

Read more about self-employment

Certain groups are exempt from the normal rules, e.g. diplomats, certain musicians and performing artists, personnel in the transport industry, and some Turkish citizens.

Read more about special groups 

Job seeking in Denmark

There are several web portals, databases and CV bases which can be useful in the process of seeking work in Denmark.

Read more about job seeking in Denmark



Last update: 10/31/2013
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Published by: The Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment
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