Green card programme faces shakeup

Green card holders will be provided with better information about how to access the Danish labour market after figures show that few of them find relevant work

The green card programme, which allows highly-skilled foreigners three years to find work in Denmark, will be overhauled in the autumn, according to public broadcaster DR.

The programme has faced criticism after a 2010 study found that only 28 percent of green card holders found work within their field, while 43 percent ended up taking unskilled work.

The ineffectiveness of the green card programme will now be addressed by the government, according to the labour market spokesperson for the Radikale, Nadeem Farooq.

“We are going to completely re-examine the area and see if we can make any adjustments that can help more green card holders find jobs they are qualified for,” Farooq told DR.

According to Farooq, the overhaul will not mean the distribution of fewer green cards, but rather the creation of initiatives that will help green card holders find suitable work once they are in the country.

“In the Danish labour market, you often need a network in order to get a job and that’s something immigrants need to understand,” Farooq said. “Up until now, green card holders were just told to get going. But many were lacking the last loving push that would help them understand the Danish labour market and the Danish model.”

Around 7,000 green cards have been handed out since the programme started in 2008, with the majority arriving from countries such as Pakistan, India, China, Iran and Bangladesh.

However, a Copenhagen Post investigation last year revealed that many green card holders were disappointed by the lack of opportunity in Denmark, especially given the strict requirements and high cost of applying for the programme.

Jens Frahm-Rasmussen, a consultant for Work & Life Denmark, an organisation dedicated to helping foreigners find work, agreed that a better introduction to the Danish labour market would improve the chances of finding relevant work, but said that the government also needed to better select who receives green cards in the first place.

“They need to be more specific about which fields and educational backgrounds are preferred, taking into account which job opportunities there are for working in Denmark,” Frahm-Rasmussen told DR.