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No work permit required for Eastern European workers

April 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

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From 1 May 2009, workers from the new EU member states will have access to the Danish labour market on equal terms with other EU nationals, according to a new Bill introduced by the Danish Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs

On 1 May 2004 when EU was enlarged, a transitional arrangement was implemented which meant that a residence and work permit was required for nationals of the new EU member states. Since then, the transitional arrangement has been relaxed on several occasions in order to eventually phase out the arrangement. A new Bill proposes to abolish the remaining provisions with effect from 1 May this year.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were the countries that joined the EU in 2004. The transitional arrangement introduced in that connection required workers from those countries to have a residence and work permit. And when Bulgaria and Romania joined on 1 January 2007, workers from those countries became covered by the arrangement, too.

One of the results of the gradual liberalisation of the transitional arrangement is that, today, a work permit is no longer required if the job is covered by a collective agreement. If enacted, the Bill will abolish the transitional arrangement altogether and all nationals of the new EU member states will then be subject to the rules that apply to other EU nationals with effect from 1 May 2009.

This means that, in future, nationals of the above new EU member states will be entitled to work in Denmark without a residence and work permit. If their stay exceeds 3 months, however, they will be required to apply to the relevant regional state administration for a registration certificate.

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