Business News in Brief: Bureaucracy and financial barriers on foreign labour hobbling IT startups

In other stories, the US-Chinese trade war is bad for Denmark, CEOs are in hot water and Danes feel under pressure when working from home

IT startups in Copenhagen are suffering due to a shortage of qualified labour and the difficulties created by the current visa regulations on importing labour from outside the EU’s borders.

Payment card company Pleo pointed out to Berlingske Business that if they find someone outside the EU, they have to pay them at least 35,000 kroner per month in order to satisfy the earnings requirements laid down by Parliament. Dansk Folkeparti has even suggested that this amount be raised.

Minister wants change
The process of applying for the required visa can also be lengthy as well as costly. Business minister Brian Mikkelsen recognises that a lack of suitable workers can act as a brake on entrepreneurs and for future growth. He would like to see the amount that a suitable candidate from outside the EU needs to earn in order to get a residence and work permit reduced.

“We just have the problem that there is a political majority against us on this, but I’m very willing to see what can be done to make waiting times shorter,” said Mikkelsen.

Danish industry fears escalating trade war
Yesterday, China reacted to US President Trump’s import restrictions on Chinese steel and aluminium by imposing surcharges on 106 groups of American products. This has ratcheted up the vicious circle of ‘tit for tat’ restrictions on world trade, reports Politiken. “What’s happening now is exactly what we feared a couple of weeks ago,” said Dansk Industri’s director of international market policy, Peter Thagesen. A lot of Danish companies produce goods in China that are sold in the US, and they could be hard hit. “The US is a huge market and the world’s largest economy, and that’s why this is so destructive,” he added.

Singapore chief on trial over OW Bunkers crash
The spectacular collapse of the ship’s bunkering company OW Bunkers, which led to the company going bankrupt and losses of 821 million kroner, is now entering a new phase with the prosecution of Lars Møller, who was head of the company’s Singapore-based subsidiary Dynamic Oil Trading at the time. Møller has been charged with grossly exceeding his mandate and extending massive amounts of credit to one of the company’s customers, reports Metroxpress. The money was never repaid and Møller is also accused of benefiting personally from the transactions in the form of bonus payments. A number of private investors are also waiting in line to demand compensation for losses estimated to total over 350 million kroner.

Bank director resigns over money-laundering
Lars Mørch, who had been employed by Danske Bank since 1999 and was responsible for their business banking sector since 2012, has resigned from the board of directors with immediate effect. Mørch fell on his sword as a result of the bank being fined a record 12.5 million kroner for contravening money laundering regulations in their Baltic subsidiary. Investigations into the scandal are still ongoing but Danske Bank has admitted that it should have been much quicker to act on the matter.

Danish-driven project on maritime digitalisation
Today and tomorrow, representatives from the maritime sector will come together in Copenhagen for a conference representing the culmination of a three-year digitalisation project called EfficienSea2. The project has been led by the Danish Maritime Authority and has 32 dedicated partners from 12 countries in the Baltic Sea region and beyond. EfficienSea2 has focused on digital infrastructure at sea, the digitalisation of safety information held by various authorities, and efforts to reduce the burden of reporting that shipping companies face using automated technology. At the conference, among other things the partners will be demonstrating the sea charts of the future and discussing how weather at sea can influence maritime communications systems and how big a role interaction with new IT systems plays for seafarers.

Danes pressured by work-from-home solutions
Although 63 percent of Danes have the technology to be able to work from home or at another location than their normal office, 35 percent feel that this creates extra pressure and a feeling of having to be available 24/7, a new survey carried out by Blauw Research and Survey Sampling International for HR company Randstad reveals. The survey interviewed a minimum of 400 employees aged 18-65 in 33 countries. Thomas Bælum, the recruitment head at Randstad, points out that both employer and employee have a responsibility. “It is very important that you agree with your employees when they should be available. It is also important that an employer doesn’t expect an employee to reply instantly to mails sent outside working hours,” added Bælum.