In 2021, Denmark received 55 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 32% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 58.1% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 22.5% labour migrants, 16.5% family members (including accompanying family) and 2% humanitarian migrants. Around 4 700 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 3 000 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 31 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -12% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Romania, Poland and Germany were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Romania registered the strongest increase (+1 000) in flows to Denmark compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 120%, to reach around 4 500. The majority of applicants came from Ukraine (2 100, excluding temporary protection recipients), Afghanistan (400) and Syria (400). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Ukraine (+2 100) and the largest decrease nationals of Eritrea (-200). Of the 1 010 decisions taken in 2022, 51% were positive.

Emigration of Danish citizens to OECD countries increased by 14% in 2021, to 9 900. Approximately 17% of this group migrated to Sweden, 12% to Norway and 11% to Germany.

In response to labour shortage, a new Danish law was implemented in April 2023 to strengthen international recruitment of third-country nationals. The law implemented a new supplementary Pay Limit Scheme with a required minimum salary of DKK 375 000 per year. The worker can obtain a residence and work permit with a duration of up to five years with the possibility of further renewal if the criteria are met. The fast-track scheme has also been extended with a new track linked to the supplementary pay limit scheme (the supplementary pay limit track).

Certification under the fast-track scheme has also been extended to companies with at least 10 full-time employees, compared with 20 before.

The Positive List for People with a Higher Education has been expanded so that more professions can be included. Furthermore, the list will be more predictable for companies hiring from abroad as the professions on the list will stay on the positive list for at least two years.

Third-country nationals who have completed a Danish bachelor’s, professional bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degree from a publicly accredited educational institution in Denmark are automatically given a job seeking permit for up to three years. This replaces the “establishment card”, which previously – after filling an application – allowed third-country nationals with these degrees to work in any company or any position in Denmark for two years after graduating.

In July 2022, the Danish Government implemented a new law, following an agreement with the trade union federation, the employers’ association and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, with the aim of improving the duration and oversight of the scheme for third-country interns within the green sector. In areas within this sector where there is a significant shortage of internships under vocational education and training (VET) schemes, the residence and work permit for third-country interns is conditional on the employer having employed or tried to recruit an apprentice. Their length of stay was extended from 12 to 18 months.

On 11 November 2021, the Danish Parliament adopted a special act on temporary residence (valid two years) for the evacuated Afghan nationals who assisted Danish authorities etc. in Afghanistan. On 27 June 2023, the Danish Government decided to prolong the special act, enabling the residence permits to be prolonged until 30 November 2025 upon application.

On 16 March 2022, the Danish Parliament adopted a special act on temporary residence permit for displaced persons from Ukraine. Residence permits that are granted in accordance with the act are temporary and valid until 17 March 2024 with the possibility for the government to extend the scheme with one year.

A person granted residence permit under one of the special acts is offered similar rights in connection to accommodation, access to the labour market, welfare benefits, healthcare etc. as to those who are issued residence permits under the Aliens Act, including asylum.

The government is planning to introduce a new fee for repeat applications for citizenship in 2024.

For further information: (in Danish) | | (in Danish) | |

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