Horesta

 

Political agreement regarding international recruitment

Last night, the Danish Government, Venstre (the Conservative-Liberal Party), Dansk Folkeparti (the Danish People’s Party ), Socialistisk Folkeparti (the Social People’s Party), Liberal Alliance (the Liberal Party) and Det Konservative Folkeparti (the Conservative People’s Party) reached an agreement on reforming the rules on international recruitment.

A part of this agreement covers the rules on work permits for foreign workers, including international students (the so-called 15-hours permit) from a country outside the Nordic countries or the EU/EEA, which – as you know – has been debated intensively the past week.

In short, the agreement includes the following amendments of the current rules:

  • The allowed number of working hours under a work permit for international students will be increased from 15 hours per week to 20 hours per week. International students will – as is the case today – be entitled to work full time during the months of June, July and August. The international students will consequently be allowed to work considerably more hours than is the case today.
  • The number of working hours is to be calculated as an average for each calendar month. This makes it easier to administer the rules for the employer. This amendment has been suggested by HORESTA, although we argued for the period over which the average should be calculated to be even longer than one month – preferably the whole period of employment, or at least one year.
  • The Government will examine the possibilities of making it easier for employers, to avoid - unintentionally - breaching the Danish Aliens Act. This will require that the IT-systems of various public authorities can exchange data. The establishment of such an IT exchange system will have financial impact, and currently no such funding has been identified. The Government will present their suggestion for a solution to this subject mid 2015. This amendment has also been suggested by HORESTA, and is a subject we have argued for a long time. We are happy to learn that this subject is also part of the political agreement, although – as a result of the lacking funding – the subject still requires attention from our side.
  • The parties agree that fines for employers and others who breached the rules on international recruitment should be increased. HORESTA has argued against this amendment. However, we have succeeded in making it a requirement for implementation of the increased fines that the Government has found a solution regarding establishing an IT exchange system, cf. the above point.

The agreement will expectedly be implemented by autumn 2014, to enter into force by 1 January 2015.

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Additional comments:

The Danish media has exposed a number of cases this past week, where employers have not been in compliance with the rules on international recruitment, in particular regarding work permits and the 15-hours rule for international students. The number of cases shows that many employers have difficulties with administering the Danish Aliens Act, and further that international workers often do not even know the rules themselves.

HORESTA has during the past week had a very active role in the Danish media and we have been in close dialogue with politicians at Christiansborg. We have thus both been in contact with the Minister for Employment, the Minister for Taxation, and the political spokesmen from all the parties involved in the agreement. Wednesday we had a meeting arranged at Christiansborg on very short notice with the negotiator from Radikale (the Danish Social Liberal Party being part of the government) and tax spokesman Nadeem Farook. At this meeting the management from Bella Center A/S, Meyers Group, Sticks’n’Sushi and Tivoli also participated, and they presented their own cases illustrating the unfair effect of the current legislation. We would like to thank you all for being able to participate with such short notice.

It is an important and significant result that a political agreement has been reached on making it easier for employers to avoid breaching the rules unintentionally. The debate during the past days has clearly showed, that employers in many situations are at a loss and unable to assure that they are in compliance with the rules. For long, we have requested better assistance from the authorities, and we are glad that the politicians have listed to our arguments and showed willingness to overcome the challenges.

Going forward, we will focus on assuring that funding is found to develop the necessary IT exchange system. We will also focus on being further involved in the implementation of the political agreement.

Shortly after the summer break we have arranged a meeting with SKAT (the tax authorities), where this subject will be raised. Further, we will bring this subject to the table at our meeting with the Minister for Taxation, Morten Østergaard, at HORESTA on 4 September 2014, where many of you will participate.

We will continue to put political aware on the fact that the fines are unreasonably high in most scenarios. We think that it is apparent that it should be taken into consideration whether the employers are breaching the rules intentionally or not, and whether the employers have any financial gain or other advantages of breaching the rules.

 

For further information contact:

Kirsten Munch Andersen

Political chief
Economic-Political Department
Tlf.: +45 35 24 80 80
kma@horesta.dk

Kirsten Munch Andersen
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