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New rules regarding sideline activities and volunteer work for researchers and PhD students

The Danish Parliament today agreed on new more flexible rules for sideline activities and volunteer work for international employees. The changes to the immigration law will take effect 10 June 2018.

2018.06.06 | Anne Pletschette Langer

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The new rules regarding sideline activities apply to foreign nationals who already hold a work and residence permit as a researcher or guest researcher (under the researcher scheme) or PhD student (under the PhD scheme). The rules also apply to foreign nationals, who submit a new application for a work and residence permit as a researcher or guest researcher (under the researcher scheme) or PhD student (under the PhD scheme).  The rules do not apply to guest PhD students.

The rules also apply to border workers/commuters who already hold or are applying for a work and residence permit in Denmark within one of the job categories researcher or guest researcher (under the researcher scheme) or PhD student (under the PhD scheme).

The new rules about volunteer work both apply to foreign nationals, who already hold a work and residence permit based on work, and foreign nationals who submit a new application for a work and residence permit based on work. The rules also apply to border workers/commuters who already hold or are applying for a work and residence permit in Denmark.

The rules do not apply to foreign nationals who are staying on the Faroe Islands or Greenland.

Important points

  • The rules only apply to non-EU/EEA citizens. EU/EEA citizens do not need to have a work and residence permit and, thus, are not included in the new rules.  
  • Guest PhD students still need to have a permit for sideline activities. Guest PhD students still hold the right to work 20 hours a week and full time during June, July and August as stated in the current rules. 
  • The new rules only apply to researchers and guest researchers (under the researcher scheme) and PhD students (under the PhD scheme). 
  • Foreign nationals with a jobsearch period included in their work and residence permit cannot get a permit for sideline activities during the jobsearch period. 

Sideline activities

The new rules for sideline activities make it possible for foreign nationals with a work and residence permit as a researcher or guest researcher (under the researcher scheme) or PhD student (under the PhD scheme) in Denmark to carry out sideline activities without having to submit an application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI). Guest PhD students still need to apply for a permit for sideline activities. 

The new rules are

  • Foreign nationals with a work and residence permit as a researcher or guest researcher (under the researcher scheme) or PhD student (under the PhD scheme) in Denmark can now carry out sideline activities without having to submit an application for sideline activities to the immigration authority (SIRI). The sideline activity must be related to your main employment. Guest PhD students still need to apply for a permit for sideline activities. If in doubt, contact SIRI.
  • There are no requirements for separate salary and employment conditions connected to the sideline activity, and the activity can be both paid work or independt enterprise, including work as a freelancer.
  • NB! The rules for sideline activities do not apply during a possible job search period. The right for sideline activities only follows the main employment period.
  • Researchers including those on the fast track scheme and guest researchers (under the researcher scheme) and PhD students (under the PhD scheme) can now carry out sideline activities without any limitation in working hours. Guest PhD students still need to apply for a permit for sideline activities. 
  • Researchers who hold a work and residence permit according to the pay limit scheme are not included in the new rules about sideline activities. These researchers still need to apply for a permit for sideline activities.
  • PhD students and guest PhD students still hold the right to work 20 hours a week and full time during June, July and August as stated in the current rules.  

Volunteer work

The new rules about volunteer work apply to all foreign nationals, who are already in Denmark based on work. The new rules about volunteer work therefore also apply to guest PhD students.  

The new rules imply a right to carry out unpaid volunteer work alongside the main employment and any sideline activities.  

The new rules are

  • You have the right to carry out unpaid volunteer work alongside your main employment and any sideline activities
  • Unpaid work means that you cannot receive any pay or other goods, e.g. Paid phone, internet, etc. You may, however, receive small benefits that other unpaid volunteer workers also receive. This may be paid transport to the work place, free lunch, Christmas presents, etc.  
  • You may carry out the work for a formally organized organisation, association, public institution or the like. You may also carry out volunteer work in more loosely organized networks.
  • The unpaid volunteer work may not replace paid labour, and it is therefore a condition that it is normal that the work is unpaid and carried out as volunteer work.  
  • The right to carry out unpaid volunteer work does not require you to submit an application, but will be included in your original work and residence permit.

International Academic Staff Services (IAS) are awaiting the final wording of the Act, and we are in dialogue with SIRI about clarifications to the announced text. We will update ias.au.dk/permits when we have the final wording of the Act. Keep an eye on the website immediately after 10 June. We will also announce the changed rules in the IAS Newsletter on 19 June.

The website of the Danish Agency for International Recruitments and Integration (SIRI) is updated continuously, so keep an eye on NewtoDenmark.dk

PhD students, Staff
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Revised 19.06.2018