Chairman of the Social Democrats Mette Frederiksen urged companies to focus on recruiting employees from southern Europe, when she spoke at DI Business Summit Tuesday.

Photo: Rie Neuchs
20-09-18 DI Business News

Løkke and Frederiksen: The road to Denmark must be easier for foreign specialists

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Chairman of the Social Democrats Mette Frederiksen have both promised to make the road to Denmark easier for foreign specialists.

“Denmark’s companies need be able to hire the employees they need. Also when it involves looking beyond our borders,” said Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in his speech at the DI Business Summit, promising that the government will release a proposal within the next few weeks to make it easier for Danish companies to hire foreign employees from outside the EU.

“I’d also like to go slightly off-script here to applaud the statements made by the Social Democrats this morning indicating that they are prepared to come together around some of these matters,” said Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Given that this labour is so specialised, I’m certain that you’re also willing to pay for it. Chairman of the Social Democrats Mette Frederiksen.

Meanwhile, there was no doubt that the prime minister is prepared to take a step further than the majority in parliament.

“A parliamentary majority without government support has hindered you [the companies] by increasing the pay limit scheme. When you can’t bring in the employees you need, that’s orders right out of your books. And it’s also money right out of the public purse, because every foreigner on the pay limit scheme contributes with more than DKK 300,000, which amounts to DKK 1.5 billion in national revenue annually,” said the prime minister and continued:

“The positive list must be made more dynamic so that it is also possible to bring in skilled workers – keeping in mind, naturally, that these are people who wish to take part in our society. Meanwhile it’s no secret that the conditions at Christiansborg aren’t optimal. I have therefore discussed the situation with social partners, and my impression is that trade unions understand that companies must be able to easily hire the employees they need,” said Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

See also: Companies, make yourselves hot: Happy employees are good for the bottom line

Recruit all the specialists you need

Mette Frederiksen likewise made it clear that Danish companies should be able to recruit all the highly specialised employees they need – also from outside the EU.

“But given that this labour is so specialised, I’m certain that you’re also willing to pay for it,” the chairman said, in reference to the pay limit scheme, which requires that employees from non-EU countries must be paid more than DKK 418,000 per year.

Instead, she believes there should be more focus on recruiting employees from southern Europe, where unemployment rates are high.

When moderator Cecilie Beck subsequently asked the chairman why there is a difference between employees from southern Europe and countries outside the EU, the chairman offered a historical perspective.

“It makes a big difference in terms of our ability to integrate that employee. In the postwar years, when engines were also running at full steam, we brought in large numbers of unskilled workers from abroad. Many fared well, but there were also major integration challenges that we still feel the consequences of today. This is why we can’t look at the question with solely the interests of business and the need for immediate labour in mind,” said Mette Frederiksen.

She also noted that there are still Danish reserves to be drawn upon.

“We have 50,000 young people who don’t have anything to do. I’m not claiming that they can step in from one day to the next and be the employees you need. But with the right initiatives and leadership, they can become them. And there are many unskilled workers you can help by accrediting their competences,” said Mette Frederiksen.

See also: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen: Labour shortage jeopardises upswing

Steen Nielsen

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