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Spouses of highly educated foreigners to be exempt from language test

The Social Democratic Party has entered an agreement with the Government to ensure that spouses of highly paid foreigners will not be faced with a requirement to pass a Danish language test after all. The Confederation of Danish Industry welcomes the fact that foreign specialists will not experience barriers and praises the parties for reaching an agreement.
With the “sunset provision”, the Social Democratic Party’s spokesperson for citizenship Mattias Tesfaye has given the party and the Parliament one year to negotiate new rules that do not mix together corporate agreements and other integration requirements.

Publiceret: 10.05.2017
Af Felix Bekkersgaard Stark mail

Foreigners who earn more than DKK 408,800 annually will still be able to bring their spouses to Denmark in the future without the spouse needing to pass a Danish test after a very short period of time.

There had been uncertainty in this matter as the Social Democratic Party and the Danish People’s Party had majority support for a proposal that would mean that spouses of both Danish expatriates and foreigners with Danish residency permits would have to pass a Danish language test.

However, the Social Democratic Party has now retracted their support for the proposal, with the provision that the law must be changed in a year at the latest.

“We would like to find a solution so that the well-functioning corporate agreements are not mixed together with other integration requirements. We have now given ourselves and the Parliament a year to do so, and we are satisfied with this,” says the Social Democratic Party’s spokesperson for citizenship, Mattias Tesfaye.

See also: Copenhagen get spouses of foreign nationals into work

New rules next year at the latest

This means that the parliamentary parties must begin negotiations for a reform. According to Mattias Tesfaye, the new rules must ensure that all Danish citizens who reside abroad are also able to bring their spouses to Denmark.

“The change to the rules we are now voting in favour of only benefits highly paid individuals. We must ensure that also tradesmen and all other Danes have the opportunity to bring their spouses home,” says Mattias Tesfaye.

Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration Inger Støjberg (Venstre) is pleased that a compromise has been reached so that the requirement of a passed Danish language test for accompanying spouses has been taken off the table.

“There is consensus that it makes sense to set demands for those who plan to stay in Denmark, but that it would not make sense to set a language requirement after half a year for a spouse of someone who will only be working in Denmark for a year, for example. Instead, we predict that this would hinder the qualified foreigner who is considering coming to Denmark to work for a period of time, and who would therefore prefer a job in one of our neighbouring countries instead,” says Inger Støjberg.

She now wants to start looking at family reunification rules in general.
“I want to ensure that Danes can return to Denmark with their spouses as they have been able to until now without much difficulty, but without creating obstructions for qualified workforce in that connection,” says Inger Støjberg.

See also: National action plan to secure more skilled it-workers

Important that Denmark be attractive to foreigners

At the Confederation of Danish Industry, CEO Karsten Dybvad is pleased that a solution has been found that does not create barriers for foreign specialists who come to Denmark with their spouses.

”We have been deeply concerned that we as a country would begin setting language requirements for a foreign employee’s spouse after a very short period of time in the country. Denmark would simply be dismissed and thereby miss out on the growth and jobs that foreign specialists bring with them. Now a responsible political majority has agreed upon a solution that will hopefully give time to find a model for Danish expatriates and their spouses without simultaneously impairing Denmark’s opportunities for attracting talent from abroad. They deserve great praise for that,” says Karsten Dybvad. 

We have been deeply concerned that we as a country would begin setting language requirements for a foreign employee’s spouse after a very short period of time in the country.
CEO KARSTEN DYBVAD, CONFEDERATION OF DANISH INDUSTRY
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PUBLISHED: 5/10/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 5/11/2017