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UCPH hopes to attract foreign staff after govt. proposal

International staff — The Danish government wants to make it easier to bring in international manpower to Denmark. UCPH welcomes the proposal. New rules are to cut red tape and make it easier to attract top researchers to universities.

The pay limit threshold is to be lowered so that people from 12 countries outside the EU can more easily find employment in Denmark. This is a proposal by the Danish government to strengthen the recruitment of foreign manpower that was released 3rd October.

The government also wants to make it easier for universities to attract researchers and PhD students, and to ensure that international students stay in Denmark when they graduate.

The UCPH department for international employees sees many advantages in the proposal:

“We are very pleased with it and welcome it,” says the Head of International Staff Mobility Vivian Lindgaard.

More laboratory assistants and secretaries

The proposal

The pay limit threshold is to be lowered from DKK 418,000 to DKK 330,000 for people from 12 countries outside the EU.

The fast-track scheme is to be more flexible

The regulations for researchers and PhD students are to be simplified

Students are to be able to start work while their applications for work permit are processed

International graduates are to be kept in Denmark

The lowering of the threshold for the pay limit scheme will not directly affect researchers, because they apply for a residence and work permit using the PhD fellowship scheme. But it does allow top researchers to bring their research groups with them to Denmark. And this can make it easier for UCPH to attract the big names in research, Vivian Lindgaard says:

“A good example could be if we want to recruit a top researcher from the US, who would like to bring over his or her entire research group. The lowering of the pay limit can make it possible for us to employ people in research-support positions, like secretaries or laboratory assistants who are not researchers themselves.”

The pay limit scheme means that a foreign national can currently obtain a residence and work permit if the person earns an annual salary of at least DKK 417,793. Until June 2016, the limit was DKK 375,000 a year. It was then put up to DKK 400,000.

Now, it will be reduced again to DKK 330,000. But only for people from 12 countries outside the EU, namely the United States, Singapore, China (including Hong Kong), Australia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Mexico and Russia.

UCPH has fortunately not lost its fast-track certification. But we are constantly worried that there will be an error in the casework, because the consequences are so huge.
Vivian Tos Lindgaard, Head of International Staff Mobility, University Of Copenhagen

According to Lars Løkke Rasmussen there is a reason why they, for example, don’t want more manpower from Sudan:

“You come to Denmark to work, and then you go to work from 9 to 17, or whatever you do. But you’re also here outside normal working hours. And here there is a difference between whether you come as a Canadian or from Sudan,” the prime minister said to Danish broadcaster DR.

Fast-track scheme improved

Section head Vivian Lindgaard is also positive about the fact that the government wants to cut back on bureaucratic red tape.

But you’re also here outside normal working hours. And here there is a difference between whether you come as a Canadian or from Sudan

Lars Løkke Rasmussen

The prospect of the fast-track scheme being made flexible is particularly promising. The scheme will allow a researcher to start a job at UCPH immediately and in parallel with the residence and work permit process.

The problem with the current fast-track scheme is that the smallest of errors on the part of a university employee can set off a fine or lose the institution’s certification. We find this to be completely unreasonable, when you consider that UCPH is a workplace with 1,800 international employees,” says Vivian Lindgaard.

This means that staff are constantly worried about making mistakes or overlooking information.

“UCPH has fortunately not lost its fast-track certification. But we are constantly worried that there will be an error in the casework, because the consequences are so huge.

The Danish government proposes shortening the waiting period from 2 to 1 year, and that certification will only be withdrawn if the institution gets more than three fines in a year, or if the fine is above DKK 100,000 for a large institution like UCPH.

“Now let’s see”

Fixed-term staff from abroad also get a helping hand in the Danish government’s proposal. It wants to simplify the rules so researchers and PhD students can get access to the job application process in the event of unemployment and the option of starting a job concurrently with the application process. Family members are also to have better access to travel in and out of the country.

Now let’s see how much of this proposal will be adopted

Vivian Tos Lindgaard, Head of International Staff Mobility, University Of Copenhagen

This will mean a lot for UCPH, where foreign researchers are hired on fixed-term PhD or postdoc positions. With the new rules in place, they would be able to stay in Denmark while waiting for a response from a research or a job application,” says Vivian Lindgaard.

So far, however, UCPH is not overreacting. Parts of the proposal will hopefully be adopted. But the Social Democrats, the Danish People’s Party and the Socialist People’s Party have rejected the proposed reduction of the pay limit threshold.

“Now let’s see how much of this proposal will be adopted,” says Vivian Lindgaard.

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