Residence requirement - what does it mean for you?
If you stayed abroad for more than 5 years within the last 12 years –– or are planning to do so –– you may be left without any unemployment benefits.
On 20 December the government parties and Dansk Folkeparti adopted a law introducing a residence requirement that will take effect from 1 January 2019.
When the law is fully phased in, unemployment fund members must have stayed in the realm (Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland) or in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for a total of 7 years within the last 12 years to be entitled to unemployment benefits.
When does the residence requirement take effect?
The new rules apply from 1 January 2019. The residence requirement is, however, gradually phased in until 2021, so that if you become unemployed in
- 2019, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 5 out of 12 years.
- 2020, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 6 out of 12 years.
- 2021 or later, you must have resided in the realm or the EU/the EEA/Switzerland for at least 7 out of 12 years.
No. What matters in deciding whether the residence requirement applies to you is not when you returned from abroad, but when you become unemployed and gain the right to a two-year period with unemployment benefits.
- become unemployed before 1 January 2019, the residence requirement will not apply to you.
- become unemployed after 1 January 2019, the residence requirement will apply to you.
- became (or become) unemployed in 2018 and continue to be unemployed in 2019, the residence requirement will not apply to you.
But if you find a job and is later given a new placement in the unemployment benefit system – which requires at least 12 months in work – the residence requirement will apply to you.
Will residence abroad before 1 January 2019 be included?
Although the law takes effect from 1 January 2019, the assessment of whether you fulfil the residence requirement will consider residence periods abroad before that date.
This means that you may be affected by the residence requirement, even if you moved abroad a long time ago and perhaps returned home several years ago.
What countries are included when considering the residence requirement?
The law states that “you must have had lawful residence in the realm or in another EU/EEA country”. By lawful residence is meant that you appeared in the Danish population register (“folkeregisteret”).
The realm consists of Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The EU has at present 28 member states. The European Economic Area (EEA) includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, while Switzerland has associated status.
What about the United Kingdom and Brexit?
The United Kingdom is negotiating its leave from the EU on 29 March 2019. We do not know how residence in the United Kingdom will be considered in relation to the residence requirement if the country leaves the EU. The law is silent on this point; however, we see it as most likely that residence in the United Kingdom – at least until 29 March 2019 – will be considered residence in the EU.
Residence abroad = deregistration from the population register
In our assessment of whether you fulfil the residence requirement, only periods abroad in which you were deregistered from the Danish National register (folkeregisteret) are counted.
As a consequence, holidays or longer trips abroad will not be included if you did not unregister from the Danish National register.
All periods with residence in another EEA-country, Greenland, Faroe Island or Switzerland are comparable with periods with residence in Denmark – but only if you are an EU-citizen.
Periods in other countries are only comparable with residence in Denmark if one of the following conditions apply: