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Incoming PhDs caught up in red tape

A new fee on residence permits is keeping international PhD students out of Denmark. With applications due this summer, the problem will only get worse, says International Staff Mobility office

With new application fees for residence permits, PhD’s and students from abroad are having trouble scaling the wall of Danish bureaucracy.

The new problems come after the immigration agency, in Danish termed the ‘Immigration Service’, has already been under fire for stopping incoming scientists.

PhD students were having trouble getting into the country, after being misled by price information on the website of the Immigration Service. Only after our Danish-language site section Universitetsavisen and the Danish radio station P3 covered the case, was the website price information changed. It now specifies that PhD’s, like researchers, have to pay DKK 3,025, and not DKK 1,600, as it stated before.

Read previous article: Visa restrictions are scaring off the talent.

Tough to transfer money from developing countries

But that doesn’t solve the problem. There are more problems with the fee, the International Staff Mobility office at the University of Copenhagen says. The immigration agency is putting up new hindrances to foreign students and scientists.

In some cases, applicants from third world countries cannot transfer money from their accounts to the Danish Immigration Service, because their system doesn’t accept their bank accounts. And the applicant’s university is not allowed to pay or loan them the money, as it is a public institution.

Applications have been dismissed if applicants pay just a couple of kroner too little as a result of fluctuating currencies, according to Vivian Tos Lindgaard of the International Staff Mobility Office.

Problem will only get worse

Danish embassies have received little information on the new rules. This has meant that applicants looking for help, have received the wrong information, according to Lindgaard.

The problem will only get worse during the summer, when most internationals apply, Vivian Tos Lindgaard predicts.

»It has got more difficult to enter Denmark after the new fees,« she says. »And remember, there is a workplace or a place of study that is waiting for these people. I think they should be excepted from the regulations.

Internationals are an asset

She doesn’t understand why the Immigration Service is apparently preventing international scientists and students from coming to Denmark.

»These are people, who have come to contribute to Danish society and its economic growth. They are an asset to Denmark.«

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