A record 384,000 foreigners worked in Denmark in 2018 – the equivalent of every tenth worker, according to the Dansk Erhverv business interest group.
Its spokesperson Peter Halkær predicts this is only the beginning, as “in comparison to other countries, the share of foreigners in the Danish labour market isn’t particularly high and it will likely increase further.”
About every third employee within agriculture, forestry and fishing is foreign, and internationals also make up a large proportion of those working in the restaurant, hotel and cleaning industries.
Reduced immigrant cost
Increasingly, immigrants with non-western backgrounds are pulling their weight, according to the Finance Ministry, as more are finding work.
An analysis of the data of 719,000 people’s income tax and state benefits reveals that their cost to society fell from 35 to 30 billion kroner between 2015 and 2016 – the most recent stats as it takes time to compile them.
Eastern Europe boost
The number of workers from outside the Nordics is also soaring. According to jobindsats.dk, the number of people from other EU countries living and working in Denmark has risen from 99,809 to 139,854 over the last four years.
While the number of workers from the six largest eastern European countries holding highly specialised positions or managerial jobs had risen to 6,525 by the end of 2017 – up threefold over the course of a decade.
Made to feel welcome
The municipalities are stepping up their game to make the workers feel at home.
Frederikshavn Municipality in north Jutland, for example, has employed a special relocation consultant who can answer questions on things like school and daycare possibilities, dealing with the authorities and the Danish language.
Eyeing an opportunity
Vejen Municipality in south Jutland likewise assists non-Danish speakers in finding information on getting a bank account, CPR national insurance number and Danish courses.
The local mayor, Egon Fræhr, sees their presence as an opportunity. “We’d like to see institutions like our kindergartens and schools fill up so we don’t have to keep making cuts. We’d rather see the wheels of commerce turning nicely,” he told DR.