Foreign work and student permits reach record levels in Denmark

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In 2007, the number of work and study permits issued by Denmark to foreigners increased for the 7th consecutive year.

As of September 2007, Denmark issued as many work permits as all of 2006, ensuring record-breaking numbers. The Danish Immigration Service (DIS) estimates that the demand will not cease any time soon.

In 2006, the total number of work and study permits issued was 28,448 -- compared to 24,988 in 2005. During the early 1990s, the number averaged less than 10,000.

The increase in immigration is attributed mainly to the new European Union member states that joined in 2004 and 2007 and increases in the number of permits issued under Denmark's Job Card Scheme.

The Job Card Scheme, introduced in 2002, allows foreigners to take employment in Denmark in certain fields experiencing labor shortages if they have a concrete job offer. The vast majority of Job Card Scheme permit holders come under the IT sector.

"It looks as if we will have an increase of more than 50 percent compared with last year. That we have already reached the level of 2006 is definitely [considered a success]," said Henrik Grunnet, managing director for DIS.

According to Rikke Hvilshøj, Minister of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs, the numbers are indicative of the success of Denmark's strategy to recruit skilled labor from abroad.