The Danish Greencard scheme was introduced in the year 2007 to replace the earlier Greencard scheme designed for graduating students who could secure certain category of white collar jobs within the Danish labour market. Very few people could take advantage of the old scheme because it targeted only people seeking top end employment opportunities within Denmark. It was a rigid and closed system which used high income ceiling as a criterion. However, it was very useful on the other hand for many Danish companies by bringing in foreign workers to boost their productivity and global competitiveness.
The new Greencard scheme targets mainly University graduates that can be assessed through certain criteria called the point system. The point system takes into consideration a lot of criteria which includes the level of education i.e. graduate or post graduate. It also takes into cognizance the world ranking of the university of graduation. Applicants who graduated from the top 500 universities in the world are given extra points but points are not deducted for attending a low ranking university. The language of instructions at the university is also an important factor as points are awarded for instructions given with the Scandinavian languages and other European languages like English, German, Spanish and French. Mastering of these languages especially the Danish language also gives extra points, this must however be supported with documents.
More points are also awarded for job experience which should cover a period of the last five years as at the time applying. No points are however awarded for job experience acquired outside the last five years prior to the date of application. Adaptation points are also given to applicants who had lived or live in Europe for certain number of years as it is believed they can easily adapt to the Danish culture and society. Other points are given for applicant’s age in inverse proportion i.e. no points are given for applicants over the age of 40 in this category.
The Greencard scheme has received a lot of severe judgement over the past couple of years. Critics explained that the fact that most of the Greencard holders are unemployed or underemployed was a defect to the sheme. Other antagonists also mentioned that the scheme was introduced at a wrong time especially at a period when there was an economic problem and few employment opportunities in the country. A government survey recently established that about 40% of beneficiaries are purposely unemployed, this is seen in some quarters as a failure while others see it as a fair achievement considering the short period of existence of the scheme. Its supporters still think it is too early to access the general impact of the scheme as its main aim is to reinvigorate the economy, but it may take some period for the beneficiaries to adapt to the Danish society and the Danish job culture. Greencard holders are expected to learn the Danish language among all things to be able to integrate themselves into the Danish employment market. This however will take some few years within which they may have run out of time to reside and work in the country. Apart from this, the process of settling down, like renting an apartment or enrolling their children in schools is also very challenging.
In addition, a lot of reviewers have criticised the passive assistance given by the government to Greencard holders.They believe the government can make it easier for greencard holders to adapt easily and quickly to the Danish economy by giving them official orientation workshops where they will be taught how to adapt to the Danish economy. They also hold the view that government should assist in placing the Greencard holders in industrial attachments or internship programmes to help them gain enough work experience within the country and reprieve any law that might militate against the employment of Greencard holders within Danish economy. It is generally believed that other stakeholders like members of the Danish industries and employers association should lobby the government to improve the efficiency of the scheme.
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By Afroscandic Contributor, Michael Ilori from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Nevertheless, most people will agree that the Danish Greencard scheme is a long term solution to the problem of labour shortage and an harbinger to Denmark’s drive to be an active competitor within global economy.