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Repeal of disputed visa rules on the way

Easier for foreign scientists and researchers to get a permanent residence permit as the hotly contested 'points system' looks to go

If all runs smoothly for the Social Democrats and supporting parties in parliament, international academics will find it a lot easier to come work and do their research at Danish universities.

A controversial part of the former government’s tight immigration legislation, is up for repeal.

First is a hotly contested points system for evaluating permanent residency permit applicants. It will be abolished, just as a rule that applicants have to prove ‘active citizenship’. Finally a rule that forces applicants to pass a so-called level 2 Danish language test will be eased to the simpler ‘level 1’ test.

Internationals are ‘active citizens’

All three changes will improve conditions for international academics, explains Vivian Tos Lindgaard who is head of the International Staff Mobility Office.

The active citizenship rule has, for example, gives points to those internationals, who are able to prove local community board memberships and fluent Danish language skills.

»But many international researchers do not have time to be on the board at their children’s kindergarten. And as for the Danish language rule, international academics are often working in an English-language environment. Hard working academics just don’t have the time to fulfil the criteria for being the present definition of an ‘active citizen’,« says Vivian Tos Lindgaard.

Present rules still apply

Many international PhDs, postdocs and professors contribute to Danish society through their work, but are unable to gain permanent residency under the present rules, she asserts.

»They are at the very top of our society, but still have no access to the Danish club,« she says.

If implemented the law will come into effect 1 July 2012, with applications before this deadline following the present regulations. The legislation is on its way through parliament, in committee, and due for its second hearing at the beginning of June.

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