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New specific solutions proposed to improve the conditions for attracting and retaining highly educated international talents

A new white paper published by the Axcelfuture think tank reveals the inappropriate barriers encountered by highly educated international talents and specialists from outside the European Union when they want to live and work in Denmark. The white paper proposes several new ways to adjust existing legislation to remove these barriers.

Highly educated people are successfully being recruited to Denmark from the European Union, but companies and universities in Denmark have difficulty in attracting highly educated talents and specialists from the rest of the world. This weakens companies’ development and global competitiveness, and they risk losing out compared with other countries.

Several adjustments to existing legislation could easily remove some of the most important legislative and practical barriers that currently prevent highly educated talents and specialists from countries outside the European Union from moving to Denmark.

This is the conclusion of a new white paper and analysis of the barriers to attracting highly educated international talents prepared by the Axcelfuture think tank for the Lundbeck Foundation and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Inappropriate barriers
The analysis identifies several inappropriate barriers in existing legislation facing international talents and specialists from outside the European Union who want to live and work in Denmark.

“We started analysing the barriers and proposing solutions to enter into a constructive dialogue on how the business and research sectors in Denmark can thrive in the increasingly competitive global environment,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Based on the analysis, the Lundbeck Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Axcelfuture therefore asked law firm Kromann Reumert to prepare proposals for specific legal solutions for adjusting existing legislation.

Simple correctional measures
“The good news is that existing legislation does not need to be drastically changed. Kromann Reumert’s research shows that the legislation can be adjusted through relatively simple correctional measures, with good results,” says Lene Skole, CEO, Lundbeck Foundation.

Examples of barriers are the rules on secondary employment, which limit the opportunities for highly educated international specialists to provide knowledge and skills in Denmark’s labour market, and the group rule, which prevents international spouses from working in the same corporate group without special approval. Such approvals and permits can require Denmark’s companies and universities and the international applicants to use considerable time and resources. As a result, many potential applicants give up or refrain from applying altogether.

The new white paper and the accompanying proposals will be launched later today at a conference at Christiansborg Palace, at which representatives from Axcelfuture and Kromann Reumert will present the main conclusions from the analysis and discuss policy. The material (only in Danish) is available at Hvidbog+og+løsningsforslag+-+samlet+pakke_final.pdf (

Further information
Novo Nordisk Foundation
Christian Mostrup, Head of Press, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]

Lundbeck Foundation
Kasper Riis, Head of Communications, +45 2139 8980, [email protected]