Many foreign nationals are free to live and work in Denmark. However, some are required to hold a residence and work permit. The specific requirements in connection with living and working in Denmark depend, first and foremost, on your nationality and qualifications.
If you are a Nordic citizen, you are free to reside, study and work in Denmark. If you are an EU/EEA citizen or Swiss citizen wishing to reside in Denmark under the EU regulations on freedom of movement, you may be subject to special rules. More information about EU/EEA and Nordic citizens.
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.
Normally, professional or labour market considerations must warrant a residence and work permit. 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 National Board of Health.
Read more about authorisation for foreign-trained doctors on the website of the National Board of Health.
Read more about access to regulated professions on the website of the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation.
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.
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 Positive List is a list of the professions and fields currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. Persons who have been offered a job in one of these professions or fields 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.
The Greencard scheme makes it possible for highly qualified professionals to come to Denmark in order to seek work and subsequently to work in Denmark. Read more about the Greencard scheme.
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.
Religious workers can come to Denmark to work for a religious order or denomination. Read more about religious workers.
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.
A person whose Danish residence permit on the grounds of, e.g., 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 keeping foreign labour in Denmark.
Jobseeking 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 jobseeking in Denmark.