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Visa restrictions are scaring off the talent

The brains may choose to go think somewhere else, as government tightens the rules

Changes to existing legislation, and a highly controversial new Immigration Package, are making Denmark a less attractive prospect for international talent.

This is the warning given by Vivian Tos Lindgaard of the University of Copenhagen’s International Staff Mobility office, in a memorandum on changes to visa rules.

For example, following changes to the law in August this year, internationals applying for a visa extension just one day after the expiration of their temporary permit face expulsion from Denmark, fines or imprisonment.

Read the article ‘Apply for visa on time or you’re out’ here.

Show us the money, if you want to study here

And if a recent proposal by the government and the supporting Danish People’s Party is passed in the Danish parliament, it will introduce a new fee on residence permit applications – DKK 1,750 for students, and DKK 3,000 for researchers, for first-time applications.

The proposal will also bring in a new point system, so spouses of internationals, who apply for permanent residency, may be required to show degrees from elite universities like Harvard, Yale or Cambridge.

Also, under the new regulations, prospective international students from outside the EU will have to prove that they have DKK 64,608 in the bank – the same amount as a Danish student grant for a whole year – before they can study in Denmark.

This is to stop bogus students, who actually want to work illegally in Denmark, according to the politicians who back the new law.

Read the article ‘Immigration service is no service’ here.

Denmark needs foreigners

The tougher visa regulations may dissuade talented foreigners from coming to Denmark, warns the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

»It (the new law, ed.) will have the very unfortunate consequence that international specialists will avoid Denmark. It is already an attractive option to choose other destinations, and if we put up even more barriers, there is a risk that more will opt to go to other places than Denmark,« says DI’s chief consultant in DI Business magazine.

»It is a big problem, as we already need them today, and we will need them even more in the future,« he adds.

Read editorial: ‘Wrong message to the wrong people’ here.

Mixed signals on internationalisation

The new rules also send a mixed signal on the internationalisation of education, writes The National Union of Students in Denmark (DSF) in a memorandum on the proposed legislation, to the Ministry of Integration.

»On one hand, educational institutions have been put under pressure to attract international students and create international research environments. At the same time, international researchers and students are now being forced to pay fees to come to Denmark,« they write.

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