Working in Denmark

working in denmark

If you are planning on working in Denmark, you will have to know some of these relevant things in order to get work.

When you want to start working in Denmark, your first stop is to contact the appropriate authorities and get permission.

Depending on where you are coming from – your nationality – there are different rules which apply. See documents.for more information on who may work in Denmark without first getting a work permit. Once you have permission to work in Denmark, you will need to get a CPR Number, which enrolls you in the National Register of Persons. You have five days from when you arrive to get registered. It should be one of your first stops.

It takes from one to four weeks to be mailed to you once you have registered. This is another good reason to register quickly, since you cannot work until you get your number. Usually you will get your number immediately and some places will give you a job if your number has been assigned.

P.S. You won't get paid until they see the card and get your skat card. So it isnt worth trying to fool them if you don't have the card.

If you are a Nordic citizen, you do not need a work permit and are free to enter, live and work in Denmark. You still need the CPR number.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen or Swiss citizen, you do not need to apply for a work permit. In some cases, however, citizens of the new EU countries need to apply for a work permit at the Immigration Service in order to work in Denmark. In order to get a work permit, bring along:

  • Residence permit
  • Passport
  • Marriage certificate (if you are married)
  • Any birth certificates (if you have children)
  • Your own birth certificate
  • Proof of where you lived before arriving in Denmark
  • Proof of where you are staying in Denmark
  • Job offer if you have one

It is always best to take along as much information as you have that will prove who you are, where you came from, your financial status, etc. The lines are usually long and having to return to the office because you needed another document is frustrating. If in doubt, bring it along. It’s better to have too much information at hand than too little.

If you do not fall into the above categories, you will need to get a work permit through the green card scheme.

There are also several schemes designed to help highly qualified professionals get both a work and residence permit. Check out some of the options at work schemes.

Please note that there are now fees for applying for some of the work schemes available. You can download a free copy here - application fees

Temporary or
short-term work

You might not be able or need to register for a CPR number if your job is seasonal work or you’re working in Denmark on a short-term contract. In this case, ask your employer for a PAYE scheme, which can be obtained at a local tax center. Your employer would do this at the workplace.

Working in Denmark

You may need to have your qualifications checked before working in Denmark. Your degrees in other countries may not be accepted here.

Many qualified people have lost out on jobs due to problems with their degrees. Do not let it come as shock - be proactive.

Get your education assessed to see if they meet Danish standards. You can submit your documentation to Cirius and they will assist you. They can be reached at Cirius.

Getting a tax card

Your next step is to get a tax card. You need to head over to the tax office (Skat Kontor) and show them your CPR number. They will ask you a few questions and then issue you a tax card.

You will actually get two cards. The first one is your A card and the other is your B card. (They are called A Kort and B Kort in Danish.) You will want to use your A Kort for your main employer. This card gives you your tax deductions and other tax benefits.

If you have a second job or income source, you will use your B Kort. You cannot use your A Kort for more than one employer. The A Kort is given to your employer when you start work. It will tell them what they need to deduct tax-wise from your pay check. You might be shocked at the high tax rate (normally at about 40%). It can be higher depending on your income.

Plan to take home half of what your actual salary is. If you are told you will make 30,000 kroner a month, you can expect to take home about 15,000. It might be a bit more, but it is easier to just expect half when you have to take out taxes, pensions, etc.

Some jobs do have exemptions from higher taxes; for example, some short-term work or if you have specialized work skills. There are also additional bonuses for other skills, especially in the medical field. These types of things can be found out through the tax office or through your employer.

Getting the Job

Now comes the fun part: getting the job. As of 2012 the job market is still recovering and unemployment is steadily improving, yet there are many problems with students finding positions and the government is working hard to get them into the job market. This will not play favorably towards foreigners coming in and vying for the same positions.

Many jobs, require specific qualifications and many qualifications from other countries are not always accepted by Denmark. This is being addressed by the government at this time and you may find that your “skills” might win over your “qualifications” when it comes to getting the job and working in Denmark.

The best way to get a job will depend on what you are looking for and your qualifications. There are several recruiting firms working in Denmark that specialize in certain fields – engineering, medicine, education, etc. The best way to find them is to “google” your specific field and add “Denmark”to your search criteria.

You can also register your CV or resume with one or all of the job sites in Denmark. A good place to start looking is on Jubii, which is a job portal and has information and links to job sites and information on getting jobs. Another option is to go through temp (vikar) agencies.

There are plenty of them around and they each have their own niches. Some only hire medical personnel, some teachers, other hire laborers for warehouse and industrial work; others hire HGV drivers, and still others hire office staff, cleaners, restaurant workers, builders and construction workers. Some have programs where you are hired for several months at a company to see if you like working there and then you might be offered a full-time job (Try & Hire).

There are also seasonal working in Denmark jobs, which are usually agricultural-type work like picking strawberries, peas, corn, pumpkins, etc., and you are paid by the weight. It is hard physical work, but it can pay well if you work hard. These jobs can be found on many of the job sites, they are usually begin being listed about March or April of each year or you can google seasonal jobs in Denmark.

There are several international companies in Denmark that use English as their official language, so not being able to speak Danish will not prevent you from being employed there. Other companies may prefer that you speak Danish but, depending on your qualifications, your job skills may win over your language skills.

Since most people speak English in Denmark, especially in businesses, you will find it easy to get along speaking English. See the language section for more information about learning Danish.

Work Environment

Businesses in Denmark are run a bit differently than in England or America. There is a very open attitude among employers and employees. There is a lot of open dialogue and a more relaxed atmosphere than you might be used to elsewhere. Very informal work attire and attitudes. This is often referred to as flat management by many expats in Denmark.

Employers are very concerned about keeping employees up-to-date, so there is much on-going education being offered and employees are expected to take advantage of such opportunities. You may also find that, while working in Denmark, your work and home life is a bit more balanced. It is common for both men and women to have time off from work for “pregnancy leave”.

Your family life is valued, and you will find that your career will not overshadow your home life unless you decide it will.

There are many surprises in store for you when working in Denmark. You may find some of the things Danes take for granted very interesting. For example, often during the morning breaks, there are fresh pastries and coffee. You can walk up to the CEO and chat with him as if he were your buddy in the next cubicle, personal birthday celebrations at the office are celebrated a bit differently too. The norm is you are expected to bring the cake for your own birthday and much, much more. Gifts are usually only given on "round birthdays" 20, 30, 40, etc. .

Some of the great perks of working in Denmark are the vacations, holiday pay and shorter work weeks. 37 hours is the normal work week, but that may change a little in the coming months. Vacation time is normally 5 weeks, but can be up to 6 weeks per year and if you get sick while on vacation, you can get those days back later as more vacation.

During the summer months, many businesses actually shut down for several weeks or run with a skeleton staff. Usually in late July or early August.

Hopefully this information has given you a little insight into working in Denmark.

Now here are some working in Denmark job sites to help you get started in your search for a job in Denmark or you may wish to continue learning more about getting started in Denmark.

If you found this page helpful, please give a google+ and or a facebook like at the top of the screen, so others can also find this information. Thank you.

FYI Denmark Expat Information

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