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Requirement of 7 years of stay in Denmark

NOTE! The residency requirement will be repealed from 1 February 2020

This is the chronology of the residency requirement (the current status)

Update December 2, 2019:

The Finance Act for 2020, which was adopted by the Government and its supporting parties on December 2, 2019, repeals the residency requirement with effect from February 1, 2020.

The parties also agreed to introduce a transitional arrangement that accommodates the persons who have canceled their A-kasse membership after the residence requirement was introduced in January 1, 2019. This arrangement foresees that the affected persons must be able to re-enroll retroactively as A-kasse members from the time of cancellation if they have been de-enrolled due to not meeting the residence requirement during the period in which the requirement was applicable.

Update August 25, 2019:

After the last parliamentary election on June 5th, 2019 there is a new Government in Denmark.
The Minister for Employment, Peter Hummelgaard, tells in an interview for the newspaper "Politiken", that the new Government will remove the residence requirement.
However he only states that it will be removed, but does not say when.

It is our belief at www.a-kasser.dk that we can expect the residence requirement to be removed. The Minister tells in the interview that the Government can't do it this year.
So it is at the earliest in 2020 that a new bill about removing the residence requirement can be adopted.

Please note however that we at A-kasser.dk only provide generally available information on this subject and are not able to guide about how you as an individual should behave regarding signing up for A-kasse membership or not, if you are in the group of persons which are affected by the residence requirement.
Whether or not you decide to sign up for A-kasse membership is entirely up to you.

You need 1 year membership of A-kasse before you can apply for benefits. In case the residence requirement will be removed in 2020, then you will probably not be affected when/if you apply for unemployment benefits from 2020 onwards.

Update December 20, 2018:

The new law was adopted in the Parliament (Folketinget) today, with the content described below.
The final law text (in Danish) can be seen here.

Update December 13, 2018:

In the last week before the voting on the new law, the Government has decided to listen to the massive critique it has received.
Now the law is scheduled to be voted on December 20, 2018, and the residence requirement in the new proposal has been changed so it will affect less people/member groups.
The residence requirement will now be 7 out of the last 12 years, when the new rule is fully phased in from 2021. In 2019 it will be 5 out of the last 12 years, and in 2020 6 out of the last 12 years.

Q&A about this new rule: We have gathered all questions received in our Q&A forum about this new rule, in this special Q&A-page.

From January 1, 2019 the new rule will set a further condition for ALL persons (Danish citizens, EU/EEA citizens, non EU citizens, graduates) for being eligible for unemployment benefits.
In the future only individuals who have stayed in Denmark, Greenland or Faroe Islands in 7 out of the last 12 years can claim Unemployment benefits ("Dagpenge") in Denmark.

Non-EU/EEA citizens must have stayed in Denmark or a Nordic country for 7 years

In case of EU nationals, periods with stay in other EU/EEA countries or Switzerland can be included when applying for unemployment benefits, according to the EU-legislation. Thus, EU-regulation No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security schemes states that periods of insurance, employment or residence in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland, unless otherwise specified, shall be treated as equivalent periods in Denmark.

It follows from EU-regulation No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems that the rules can only be used by EU nationals. This means that for nationals from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, only stays in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland can be counted (equals residence in Denmark). Third-country nationals can thus not include residence in other EU/EEA countries.
The other EU countries (except Denmark) have decided in Regulation No 1231/2010 to extend the scope of Regulation No 883/2004 to also apply to third-country nationals residing in an EU country. However, this "extension regulation" does not apply in Denmark (cf. paragraph 19 of Regulation 1231/2010).

The Nordic countries have in the Nordic convention about social security agreed that also non-EU nationals who move between the Nordic countries must be treated like EU-nationals when it comes to social security coordination. That is why non-EU nationals still can count periods with stay in the Nordic countries (but not from other EU/EEA countries).

Refugees in Denmark

Refugees who are are granted a residence permit under section 7 or section 8 of the Immigration Act are subject to EU-regulation No 883/2004, and can therefore include periods with stay in all other EU/EEA countries, including Switzerland. This also applies to family-members of these refugees.

New rule will be phased in over three years

The new residence requirement will be phased in over 3 steps:

  • in 2019 the requirement is five out of the last twelve years
  • in 2020 the requirement is six out of the last twelve years
  • in 2021 the requirement is seven out of the last twelve years

So if you apply for unemployment benefits after January 1, 2019, you should also meet this new requirement, besides the other requirements.
This means, for instance, that if you are a non EU/EEA citizen then you still need to have a work permit that allows you to work FULL time in Denmark.

You can still get Integration allowance

If you don't meet this new requirement, then you can instead receive the lower "Integrationsydelse" (integration allowance), if the conditions for Integration allowance are met.

As mentioned this new rule affects all regardless of nationality or citizenship - also Danish citizens will be covered by this new requirement.

We will be happy to answer your questions about this new requirement, please use our Q&A-forum.
Questions may also be posted to The Ministry of Employment ("Beskæftigelsesministeriet"), please see contact information at www.bm.dk.

Exceptions where stay outside of Denmark/EEA will have no negative impact

There are some exceptions where a stay in a non EU/EEA country will be regarded as a stay in an EU/EEA country, and therefore still will be counted in the "7 years":

  • work on a Danish ship
  • Stay abroad as a representative of a public Danish authority.
  • Staying abroad as a employee working for public Danish interest.
  • Staying abroad as an employee of a Danish company, including branch or subsidiary.
  • Stay abroad for professional qualifications education or study. However this exception can only be used if you were staying in Denmark immediately before the education began.
  • Staying abroad as a researcher at a foreign university, research institution or company. However this exception can only be used if you were staying in Denmark immediately before the stay abroad began.

Spouse and children under 18 years old who stayed together (have been living together in common residence) with the person mentioned in the exceptions above, can count the period with the stay abroad as a stay here in Denmark.
Equivalent to a spouse is a person who meets the conditions for marrying the person and had established a common residence with him/she before leaving abroad.

Exception for children under 18 years old

When calculating the residence requirement, stay abroad (outside DK/EU) before the age of 18, will be regarded as a stay here in Denmark when the member has stayed here in Denmark at least 7 years in total, before the age of 18.

Exception if you have completed an IGU education

If you are a refugee in Denmark and have completed the IGU education, then you are eligible for Unemployment benefits from the day after finishing IGU, regardless of how many years you have stayed in Denmark or another EU/EEA country.

Can you get money back if you do not meet the new requirement?

Because the new residence requirement applies for all members of an A-kasse (also member who have joined A-kasse before January 1, 2019), it can be relevant for some persons who no longer will be able to benefit from their Unemployment Insurance (A-kasse membership), to try to get back the money they have paid in contributions.
However it has been stated by the Appeals authority (STAR.dk) in a case from 26th April, 2019 that a member do not have right to get back paid membership fees.

Star.dk concludes in the decision that there is nothing mentioned in the new law, whether or not it is possible to get money back.
Star.dk also says that you should consider your A-kasse contributions as fees that you pay for other kind of insurances. You have had the unemployment insurance in the period you have paid for.