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Denmark wants to stop criminalizing researchers for sharing their knowledge

Professor MSO Brooke Harrington from CBS is risking to get fine, do to working outside of CBS. Including places such as the Danish tax authorites and the Danish parliament. (Photo: private)

The Danish Government has made a suggestion to change the rules regarding the sideline activities of non-EU employees. The proposal states that international researchers should have the right to do as many sideline activities as they want, without it leading to possible court cases. Problems, CBS professors Brooke Harrington and Mitchell Dean have experienced themselves.

News |   29. Jan 2018

Mette Koors

Editor-in-Chief

”If everything goes according to plan, the Danish Government expects to propose a bill before the winter holidays and send it out for consultation at the same time. The bill is expected to be passed during the spring months so that it hopefully can be enforced before the 1st of April,” writes Mia Tang, Head of press and communication at the Ministry of Immigration and Integration, in an email to CBS WIRE.

Brooke Harrington and Mitchell Dean, both professors at CBS, still don’t know whether they are at risk of getting a fine simply for doing their job, which partly entails the sharing of their knowledge as professors. For now, this is considered to be a violation of a Danish law aimed at international employees who conduct sideline activities.

As one of the world’s leading tax experts, Brooke Harrington has, for instance,  helped both the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) and the Danish taxation authorities (SKAT). Mitchell Dean has served as an external examiner and has held a Ph.D. course outside of CBS.

Mitchell Dean and his partner has got their working permits, but he's still worried he'll get fined. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

Mitchell Dean and his partner has got their working permits, but he’s still worried he’ll get fined. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

A number of international professors from Danish universities are in the same situation as the two CBS professors.

However, now the Government wants to make the rules more simple for the international employees who want to engage in sideline activities. Henceforward, this can be done with one working permit, as long as it is within the same line of work, states a press release from The Ministry of Immigration and Integration on the 25th of January.

As it is now, international researchers have to apply for a new working permit and fill out a 19 page document every time they want to work somewhere other than the university where they are employed at.

The Government is proposing that international researchers should be given the right to undertake an unlimited number of sideline activities. Under the new proposal, other international employees will have the right to take on sideline activities of up to 165 hours – or 12 hours a week within one quarter. However, the sideline activities must be connected to the individuals principal occupation.

“We need to make these rules more flexible so that we uphold our status as an attractive country for qualified working capacity. It is obvious that when it was brought to my attention that we have some rules that put obstacles in the way of that goal, then I want to do whatever I can to change them. I hope that the parties of the Danish Parliament will agree with me on this,” says Inger Støjbjerg (V), the Minister for Immigration and Integration, in the press release.

Furthermore, the proposal states that all international employees are to have the right to carry out unpaid, volunteer work without having to apply for an individual permit.

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