Within many sectors it is of great benefit to employ foreign students. However, many companies are not aware of the legal requirements as to residence and work permissions and non-compliance with the law is risky business.
The employer and the foreign student risk substantial fines or imprisonment and further, the foreign student risks expulsion. For the employer, the typical fine is 20,000 DKK per month per person employed illegally. Recently, a Danish company violating the law was fined 250,000 DKK by the Danish authorities.
Who needs a permit? Students outside the Nordic countries, the EU/EEA and Switzerland must hold a valid permit to reside and work in Denmark. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the foreign student has a valid permit.
A work permit may be granted with certain restrictions. Foreign students are only allowed to work 15 hours a week (and full time in June, July and August). Further, a work permit may be restricted to one specific employer, and if the student changes job position, a new work permit has to be applied for.
How to prove the residence and work permit in Denmark Employers planning to hire foreign students should check if the student has a residence card (in Danish: opholdskort) issued by the Danish Authorities. This is the proof of legal residence in the country. Today, the residence card is a plastic card the size of a credit card. The residence card also gives information of the work permit, and if the work permit is limited to one specific employer or to a specific amount of hours.
No permit required Students from the Nordic countries, the EU/EEA and Switzerland are allowed to reside, work and study in Denmark under the EU-regulations on freedom of movement. Consequently, they do not need a residence or work permit. However, they should obtain an EU residence document (registration certificate) from the State Administration.