International citizens service expanded to neighbouring councils

With a new advisory board and partnerships with neighbouring councils, International House set to help foreigners navigate Danish bureaucracy

Denmark’s efforts to attract and retain foreign workers were given a boost this week at the inauguration of the advisory board for the City Council’s International House.

The International House is a single location where foreigners can meet a range of Danish authorities to sort out their tax and immigration questions, as well as network and look for work.

From January, 14 councils have partnered with Copenhagen, allowing their international residents the opportunity to use the services offered at International House.

READ MORE: Copenhagen, Danish for welcome

Signal of hospitality
“We are gathered because we share the same ambition, to turn Copenhagen into one of the most business-friendly destinations in the world," the deputy mayor for culture and leisure, Carl Christian Ebbesen (DF) said at the January 23 event, adding that Denmark was faltering in its attempts to attract international talent.

MP Christian Friis Bach (R), the former development minister, added that the International House sent a signal of hospitality to international employees and students.

“Foreign recruitment is essential for growth and prosperity. [International students and workers] are no burden. They contribute to the economy and don't take jobs,” Bach told the 150 assembled guests.

Free movement necessary
Bach added that foreigners add value to Danish society, especially given that international companies working in Denmark are more productive than their Danish counterparts.

He also stressed the importance of retaining international students – three-quarters say they want to stay on after their studies – who contribute new and innovative ideas that could benefit Denmark.

“Free movement is a precondition for growth and we should safeguard it. It’s necessary to remind people of this,” Bach said.

READ MORE: International student city in the works

Immigration paradox
This appeal to openness was repeated by the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Brugger, who now sits on the International House’s advisory board, which also includes executives from Philips, Lundbeck, COWI and the Consortium for Global Talent.

Brugger identified the seeming paradox that Denmark both wanted to maintain tight immigration regulations while also acknowledging that it needed to let in foreigners who are invaluable to the Danish economy.

"What about daring to be the most international country in the world where speaking Danish is not a prerequisite?” Brugger asked.

For more information about International House, please visit their website by clicking here.

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