Immigration lawyer: Government and DF are ‘sneaking in’ stricter permanent residence rules

The law, expected to be passed in January, would be applied retroactively

The government’s plans to tighten asylum laws have been occupying headlines in recent weeks, but according to Aage Kramp, an immigration lawyer at Advokaterne IMLAW (, their proposal, which is backed by Dansk Folkeparti (DF), will also affect immigrants waiting to apply for permanent residence in Denmark.

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Tougher requirements
The law is expected to be passed on January 16 and Kramp outlines the number of ways in which the bill will make life more difficult for foreigners hoping to live and integrate in Denmark.

“Basically the rules will increase from five years to require six years of non-stop residence in Denmark, and it will no longer be possible to include short study or work periods outside Denmark,” he said.

“The future language requirement will be up from PD1 to minimum PD2 (Prøve i Dansk 2). Not even university students with subjects on the so-called positive list will qualify for permanent residence. Only those working will qualify. The minimum working requirement will be two and a half years full-time work within the last three years at the time of application.”

What’s more, applicants must satisfy at least two of four supplementary requirements: a high level of Danish, more years of full-time work, minimum earnings in the past two years, and passing a residence test or doing voluntary work.

Kramp highlights that the plans serve the opposite effect to attracting foreign labour.

“Without any public debate about the importance of attracting and retaining highly-educated foreign labour in Denmark in the light of fierce global competition, the law completely removes the possibility to use higher education in Denmark as part of the criteria to qualify for permanent residence – not even within the areas in which Denmark especially needs and want to attract foreign labour,” he said.

Retroactive effect
Finally, Kramp is critical that the proposal will affect the changes retroactively.

“The new law is intended to come into effect already from last Thursday December 10, which will affect many thousands of applicants aiming to pass the the PD1 language exam to obtain permanent residence,” he said.

“It is a surprise that the law is intended to be passed retroactively as that is generally considered against democratic principles.”