Opposition naysays government’s work permit easing strategy

DF, S and SF want no part in plans to make it easier to attract labour from US, Australia and other countries

Earlier this month, the government unveiled a proposal aimed at attracting labour to Denmark by easing work permit condition from workers hailing from  12 specific countries, including the US, Australia, China, India and Canada.

But those plans could be shelved for now as three opposition parties –Socialdemokratiet (S), Dansk Folkeparti (DF) and Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) – have indicated their intent to shoot down the proposal. If the latest opinion polls are anything to go by, the vote would be tight, as the three parties hold a 49.4 percent share.

None of the three parties want to be part of lowering the minimum wage required to acquire a Danish work permit from 418,000 to 330,000 kroner a year for citizens coming from 12 countries (China, India, the US, Russia, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia).

“Unfortunately, there’s hasn’t been enough political will to help the Danish companies, which are lacking the required labour. I am rather disappointed, particularly in Socialdemokratiet, about the unserious approach and lack of will to make a deal,” said the immigration and integration minister, Inger Støjberg.

“But the government will continue its course and will do everything possible to push through improvements for companies that are yearning for qualified labour.”

READ MORE: Denmark looks to ease work permit wage conditions for workers from a dozen countries

Parliament to decide
Støjberg said that the government would propose its initiatives to Parliament in the hope that the opposition has changed its mind and is more prepared to assist the Danish companies in their search for qualified workers.

The opposition also didn’t want to have anything to do with plans to axe the current demand for work permit applicants to have a Danish bank account, or for the expansion of the so-called ‘positive list’: a list of professions that have a shortage of workers in Denmark and thus give applicants seeking jobs in such professions dispensation from the rules.

While the opposition remains sceptical about the government plan, the confederation of Danish industry, Dansk Industri (DI), has praised the strategy.