Special law on temporary residence and the right to work for displaced Ukrainians in Denmark

On 14 March 2022 an emergency draft bill on temporary residence permits for displaced persons from Ukraine was submitted to parliament in Denmark. The bill was considered on 16 March 2022 and has entered into force on Thursday 17 March 2022.

The purpose of the Act on Temporary Residence Permits for Displaced Persons from Ukraine is to provide a special and temporary basis for residence in Denmark for people fleeing from Ukraine. The legislation will allow special residence permits to be granted to displaced Ukrainians, without the need to make an application for a residence permit pursuant to the Aliens Act. Ukrainians who are granted a residence permit under the Act are exempt from the work permit requirement and can therefore start working as soon as they have received their residence permit pursuant to the Act.

Who can apply for a residence permit?

Pursuant to section 1 of the Act, a temporary residence permit may be granted to a displaced person on the following basis:

1) The individual was a Ukrainian citizen and left Ukraine on or after 24 February 2022, 

2) The individual was recognized as a refugee in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and left Ukraine on or after the 24 February 2022.

3) The individual is a Ukrainian citizen or had on 24 February 2022 recognized status as a refugee in Ukraine and resided or had another residence permit in Denmark on 24 February 2022.

Residence permits pursuant to section 1(3) of the Act will allow a Ukrainian citizen who has resided in Denmark on a business scheme, for example in the agriculture sector, and whose permit is about to expire, be withdrawn or lapse, to apply for a residence permit under the new Act.

Pursuant to section 2 of the Act a residence permit can also be granted to close family members of persons who have been granted a resident permit pursuant to section 1 of the Act. 

Close family member includes unmarried children under the age of 18, cohabiting spouse and/or partners regardless of nationality, provided that the marriage of cohabitation has not ended on or before the 24 February 2022. 

Conditions for applying for a residence permit

To obtain a residence, permit pursuant to section 1 of the Act, the application must be submitted in Denmark. This means that the displaced Ukrainian must be in Denmark (or at a Danish border) to make the application. Applications for a residence permit as a child, spouse or cohabitant can be submitted to a Danish mission abroad.

Work permit

Ukrainians who are granted a right of residence pursuant to the Act and exempt from the requirement to hold a work permit. The provisions of the Act mean that they will be granted a work permit by their right of residence.

The right to work applies regardless of whether the residence permit has been granted in accordance with section 1 of the Act or to an accompanying close family member pursuant to section 2. 

It has been possible even before the entry into force of the Act to apply for a residence permit in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The application can be found via this link: https://www.nyidanmark.dk/da/Ord-og-begreber/F%C3%A6lles/Information-til-ukrainske-statsborgere. Applicants must submit the application to the Danish Immigration Service’s Citizen Service.

Persons who receive a residence permit and the right to work in Denmark under the Act can express their wishes as to which municipality they want to live in. However, the location of applicant’s residence will ultimately be a decision for the Danish Immigration Service. This provision could be an issue for companies who currently employ Ukrainians who live in the immediate vicinity of the company address, if the employees apply for a residence permit pursuant to the Act they may risk being located to another part of the country. 

Temporary right of residence

It follows from section 3 (1) of the Act. 1 that a residence permit under the Act is a temporary residence, and that it is limited in time to 17 March 2024. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration has, pursuant to section 3, subsection 2, the possibility to extend the length of residence permits, which have been granted under the Special Act, until 17 March 2025.

This article was first published by our Danish member firm Mette Klingsten Law Firm on 17 March 2022. If you have questions regarding the special law on temporary residence and the right to work for displaced Ukrainians or any other employment-related question, please contact our experts at Mette Klingsten Law Firm or speak to our member firm’s representative Mette Klingsten.