Politics 27/2-13 10:10

Proposal: 3-year 'green card' for Master's, PhDs

Photo: Arnis Kalnins
International students at a recent Matriculation ceremony. If a government proposal is adopted, it will be easier for them to find a job in Denmark
Government proposes an automatic green card to international Master's and PhD students when they finish their degrees

The Danish government wants to relax visa requirements for international students and scientists.

Today, international students have six months from graduation to find themselves a job. If they fail, they are out of Denmark. Now, as part of a package of growth reforms that has to pass parliament, the Minister of Education Morten Østergaard has proposed extending the time to three years.

"Foreign students staying in Denmark have a high employment rate and contribute to Danish growth. Why cross the river to get water? Rather than trying to attract highly qualified foreigners to work in Denmark, it is the obvious thing to try and keep the international students we already have. Let's give them more time to settle down" says Minister of Education, Morten Østergaard, to Politiken.dk.

No more bureaucratic obstacles

Opening Danish borders is crucial to national competitiveness, he argues. The Minister wants to attack a number of barriers and obstacles and plans to bring together the private industry, political parties and representatives from the education sector to discuss a joint strategy.

Included among these barriers are fees that foreigners have to pay to study. Deadlines for the process of visas and permits in Immigration Service (Udlændingeservice) are also proposed and improving housing conditions for students. The government hopes that the proposals will strengthen the competitiveness of the Danish private industry and tourism.

Will the proposed changes affect you? Write to universitypost@adm.ku.dk with your number, so we can call you back.


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Unfortunately the decision has not made yet

By Farhan Ahmed on 30. October 2014, 16:23.

This news had created some hope among Masters and PhD students. But unfortunately I think still no response has found about the decision. Should we still expect something positive about the decision?

Outside green card holders

By Deepak on 19. July 2014, 0:00.

It's difficult to get job here because most of the companies use danish as communication language.. so they don't entertain english speaking candidates even if they better match with the requirements. So, Canada, US, Australia, UK, New Zealand etc are better...

This needs to implemented ASAP.

By Sajjad on 15. June 2013, 16:50.

International graduates do not only contribute to the educational experience but also to the workplace in terms of diversity and fresh ideas. They work harder because they know that its more competitive for them in a number of ways. This move will encourage them to study and later find work with a more positive frame of mind in the career that they have pursued a higher educational degree.

I am applying to arrive in Denmark this fall for a MSc program from SDU.

International student

By Bakkatatla Kumar on 7. August 2016, 5:41.

Hi sir/madam good morning
I am planning to studie my master in Denamrk.Could you please help me how to get admission from Our Denmark university and what are the document required
In Demark how long it takes to get Green card for international students

Thank you

IT and Communication

By Syed Kashif Rizvi on 12. March 2013, 15:08.

YES its Perfect Offer.

As an International student in Denmark I am 100% agree with this proposal, last Govt. made GC (Green Card )for highly qualified people out of Denmark and still those people are not getting jobs in DK who are on GC status, cause they need to spend more time here to integrate their self, Some have jobs in their own countries they get GC and came here and after some months they go back and continue their jobs cause they took holidays from first job.

But international students who are well integrated in Danish society cause they are studying and doing part time jobs n paying taxes, Danish Language and their education also in Denmark so they are more suitable for Danish society,

Cause they are studying with Danish guys n girls so they have friends network already here to mix up. My self I finished 4 years education in Dk + Dansk Sprog 1 and Dansk Sprog 2. while I was studying my other Degrees on the same time. I am now able to Speak and get job here but my Student status is not allowing me to get full time job.

When a company chef got know that i am on Temp. Student Residence permit they simply reject our application cause they want a permanent person who can do job on long period of time.
And i am very hopeful that this Green Card for Denmark International students will definitely bring more positive change in Denmark Society.

About time

By Julia Mouatt on 11. March 2013, 14:41.

It is about time a proposal like this is discussed. It makes absolutely no sense that highly skilled young foreigners get educated in Denmark and then take that knowledge somewhere else. When I studied for 3 years in New Zealand I automatically got a 1 year work visa. Especially international PhD students who are here getting a Danish PhD, paid with Danish money, why not keep this knowledge instead of basically saying "now get out", which is essentially the message you get as your visa expires on the day you hand-in, even though you have to come back within 3 month to defend. In my experience many young foreigners, educated in Denmark would like to stay, it is just not that easy for them and they don't feel that welcome.

I have already left Denmark but I support this move for future

By Ankit Khandelwal on 11. March 2013, 7:09.

This law has come quiet late. Though appreciated so much by everyone during my stay in Denmark, I had no other choice than to leave the place where I worked so hard to make my name. I hope the people in future will not suffer, as I did and they will be able to focus stress free on their education.

Great !!!

By Afsana on 5. March 2013, 13:52.

its a brilliant idea , hope to see is good for all of th international students who wants to serve and settle in dream-land Denmark !

A brilliant idea! Not just because that benefits me.

By Md. Saifuddin Khalid on 28. February 2013, 2:03.

While the Minister of Education Morten Østergaard states part of his thought, it definitely has lot more advantages for both Denmark and the Masters and PhD students. I do not see a Win-Win situation, it is rather a big WIN.

I would definitely like to continue my research and teaching career in Denmark. Two major scopes are: Post-Doc and Assistant Professor positions. If one is allowed more time then s/he will possibly worry less and that might improve the quality of work. In addition, typically commune allows an additional year of free language course, which fills the gap of field study and other issues experienced during the study period. This will allow me to gain sufficient Danish language competency, which is a major requirement to contribute in the Danish society. Moreover, six months might not be sufficient to save sufficient bank balance to re-apply for extension of VISA, showing balance for supporting family with kids,etc. However, it might be possible to get a job and continue the stay.

Most importantly, I cannot just use my current VISA permit to join a new job! It allowed me only 15 hours per week. It does not mention anywhere in the document that I can work full-time after successful submission of the dissertation or after the end of the enrolment period. My enrolment is for 36 months and my stipend is for 34 months. So, if I am done with the requirements within 34 months then I should be allowed to take full-time job. Therefore, just after the completion of requirements or the enrolment period a student needs VISA permit to begin a full-time job.

I'll hope that the proposal gets approved.

That's the news I was expecting

By TANVEER BHUIYAN on 28. February 2013, 0:12.

I am a PhD student in Aalborg University. Right now I have finished one year of my study. Honestly, I love my work as researcher. Getting a green card will definitely rectify me to contribute more in my field of area. Right now I am in biomedical engineering. A new hospital is going to be built beside Aalborg University. My drea is to work side by side with doctors. It will be a great collaboration both for doctors and bio-medical engineers researching on the same field. With a green card of three years, I wish I will spare no pains to prove myself worthy for it.

This would be great! I have

By Heidi on 27. February 2013, 14:13.

This would be great!

I have about one and a half years left to complete my PhD, but I am already starting to worry about not finding a job here in time to apply for a new work permit.
My work permit was only given validity to my thesis submission date. Today on the phone, Udlandningservice told me that if my defence is after this date, which is how it is normally goes, then I would have to apply for a permit extension to be allowed to stay here until the defence date.

I would love if the green card would mean that they gave me permission for three years after completing my degree to work in Denmark. It would be great if I didn't have to continually apply for new work permits. I have spent a lot of time visiting Udlandningservice (waiting up to 6 hours to be seen), and waiting for permits (up to 9 months for a simple extension due to renewal of a passport).
As a PhD student, I also feel like I have paid far too much money for permits and extensions (I've now spend ~13.000kr in my two years here for 3 work permits at the same job with different contracts, plus one extension due to new passport).
It would be so much simpler if I could apply one and pay once and be allowed to work in here.

I am now a highly trained individual in a field with demand (pharma/biotech), and I do think about leaving Denmark when I'm done because I know the system is easier in other countries (I previously studied and worked in Switzerland).


By Rasmus Nguyen on 27. February 2013, 14:00.

Good news for the students who love Denmark and would like to contribute to Denmark once they finish their higher education. It means a lot to foreign students in Denmark and those who plan to study in Denmark, because they will have more time to focus on studies without any stress or pressure when they think of what to do after graduation. It also gives more time for those who want to learn Danish so as to integrate in the society.

Nice proposal

By Anthony Udeji on 27. February 2013, 13:30.

I have gone through this proposal and I am highly in support of very point made in it. I am a master degree student at the University of Copenhagen and will be rounding off by June this year. It took me 8 good months to get my residence permit approved by the immigration. I would like to contribute to the growth of Danish economy through my academic zeal. This means that staying and working in Denmark after my studies is already a welcome idea but this does not depend on my since no one is sure of how the immigration would respond to one's application...

Government should try and implement this proposal and if possible before June this year.


By Alex Berger on 27. February 2013, 12:58.

This would be a huge boon. I've lobbied for something similar in the US for a long time. It just makes no sense to spend money, time, and intellectual capital educating people - many of whom want to stay - only to turn around and to force them out.

As an international student on academic scholarship who is completing a two year full degree program at the University of Copenhagen I have a strong desire to stay on and to work in Denmark. One of the main obstacles to that has been concern over extending my visa, and visa time limits. Especially while trying to apply for positions, knowing that I have to not only earn the position but an employer's willingness to deal with my visa complications and costs.

One thing that also needs to be taken into consideration is how that three year extension would change from a visa classification standpoint. Simply extending the 2 year student visa I have to a 5 year visa would not work, as it has limitations on how many hours a week I can work (15). The three year green card extension would need to come with the ability to work year round full time.

Reducing visa bureaucracy would also be a huge asset. For a number of my classmates and I, if we hadn't had US passports with a 90 day tourist visa, we would have been unable to attend our programs. In large part because of the inefficiencies and ineptitude of the immigration processing offices. Processing time for many of us took 3-4 months and required constant follow up and visits to the processing office. Those visits often require spending 3-6 hours waiting to have 5 minute questions answered.

It would be fantastic to see this proposal passed, especially if it can be done before this year's class of full degree and exchange students graduate in June.

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