New proposals to increase the required salary level of expats coming to Denmark to work and to abolish green cards are steps in the wrong direction.
There are many different projections, but they all show the same need for employees: 44,000 more skilled workers by 2025, 13,500 engineers and science candidates in 10 years, 6,000 IT specialists in 2020 … They all agree that Denmark will lack a significant amount of qualified employees in the future.
Acute skills gap
The problem is already significant. Some 58 percent of the biggest companies in Denmark are experiencing an acute skills gap according to a new study from CBS. The number of failed attempts to recruit is at its highest level since before the financial crisis, and the unemployment rate of 4.2 percent is at its lowest level for seven
Consequently, companies are turning down orders, postponing strategic initiatives or considering moving production and jobs abroad.
A negative impact
In light of this, it should be obvious that we need to make it easier for companies to recruit the qualified talent they need.
However, Parliament has just processed two new bills that make it harder for educated international talents to come to Denmark to work. If adopted, these bills will have a negative impact. Its proposal to increase the required salary level on the pay limit scheme to 400,000 kroner will make it more difficult for companies to bring skilled workers and young talents to Denmark. Abolishing the green card scheme will prevent global talents from choosing Denmark as their career destination.
These are huge steps in the wrong direction. The lack of qualified labour is a long-term structural problem for Denmark, and access to qualified foreign labour is an important part of the solution. Education and moving the unemployed into the labour market alone is not enough to solve the problem – in neither the short nor long run.
Denmark and Danish companies have a lot to offer in terms of career opportunities and a good framework for building a comfortable life. We should leverage this in order to attract international talents instead of closing ourselves off from those who will contribute positively to our society. For our own sake, we need them.