Denmark studies immigration of Indian IT workers

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In a report released by the Danish Immigration Service entitled 'Recruitment of IT Specialists from India', Denmark's immigration authorities take a look at the current market for overseas IT labor from India and the experiences of those thinking of choosing Denmark as a skilled immigration destination.

The Danish Immigration Service (DIS) undertook a fact finding mission to New Delhi and Bangalore, India between 04 May and 14 May 2008. The mission came as a result of an agreement between the Danish government and various political parties on initiatives to "enhance the chances of international recruitment."

"An added effort in international recruitment will ensure that the public and private companies have easy access to foreign work force and it will be easier for highly skilled job seekers to find employment in Denmark," the report said.

Towards this goal, the DIS plans to establish a "Work-in-Denmark Centre" at the Royal Danish Embassy in India.

According to the DIS, over 65 percent of applicants under its Job Card Scheme are IT professionals, with a majority of them coming from India. A total of 1,745 residence permits were granted under the Job Card Scheme in 2007. Over 1,200 were for IT professionals -- 902 of which were granted to Indian nationals.

A large number of business visas were also issued to Indians -- approximately 3,900 in 2007 alone.

So what attracts Indians to Denmark? The main reason was to gain experience working in a European country. Many Indian IT specialists see working in Denmark as a stepping stone towards gaining a management position back home.

One of the problems cited for choosing Denmark as a place to work was the need to learn the local language. It was not considered advantageous to move one's family to Denmark and have the children learn Danish, only to return home where the family would have to learn English, Hindi, and another local language. In this regard, Denmark was not seen as an attractive destination compared to other countries such as the United Kingdom or the USA.

However, the report found that there were advantages seen by Indian IT specialists thinking of choosing Denmark. The country has a high per-diem allowance and relatively high pay scales, making workers able to support families left at home much more easily. They also return home with valuable work experience.

Denmark is not usually known as a popular destination for skilled migrants. However, Denmark is one of the few European Union countries that has a skilled immigration scheme that is transparent and easy to understand.

Immigration policies such as the already mentioned Job Card Scheme, as well as its successful Danish Green Card scheme, make Denmark one of the hidden jewels for highly skilled Indians -- and highly skilled workers from all over the globe -- looking to live and work in the European Union.