Employment Law Newsletter: In the future, it will be much quicker for Danish undertakings to fasttrack qualified employees from abroad to Denmark. This is the result of the most recent amendment to the Danish Aliens Act.

 In December 2014, the Danish Parliament adopted a number of amendments to the Danish Aliens Act (udlændingeloven), which, among other things, will make it easier and quicker for Danish undertakings to attract foreign employees. The first part of the bill came into force on 1 January 2015, while the rest of the amendment comes into force no later than 1 April 2015.

The amendment introduces a fast track scheme, which may benefit most undertakings.

The fast track scheme will help Danish undertakings being able to hire foreign employees in Denmark with temporary work permits so that they may commence work from the moment they set foot in Denmark (and have recorded their biometric features with the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment).

In that way, foreign employees need not wait for final work and residence permits from the Agency. They may instead commence work right away.

The condition for using the new fast track scheme is that the Danish undertaking is certified to do so, for instance, by employing at least 20 full-time employees and being subject to a collective agreement. However, the latter requirement may be derogated from, if the undertaking solemnly declares that the foreign employee is employed on usual salary and employment terms.

Nevertheless, the new fast track scheme does not imply a relaxation of the requirements for foreign employees.

Foreign employees intending to seek employment in Denmark through the fast track scheme must still comply with the Aliens Act in order to obtain work and residence permits.

The amendments also provide the Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment with increased monitoring possibilities, and violations of the Aliens Act owing to the employment of foreign employees without valid work and residence permits may be punishable by fine or imprisonment of up to one year. Since 2004, the calculation of fines has been based on a payment of DKK 10,000 for each illegal foreign employee for each month he or she works without a legal work permit, notwithstanding the amount of work hours.

In more serious cases, the fine can be DKK 20,000 for each foreign employee per month, and in aggravating circumstances, DKK 30,000 per month.

Consequently, it is important that undertakings hiring foreign employees make sure that the employees hold the necessary permits to reside and work in Denmark.