In accordance with the applicable rules regarding work permit requirements in Greenland, foreign workers are exempt from obtaining a work permit if their stay in Greenland does not exceed three months, and if they are carrying out activities pursuant to the Mineral Resources Act.

In our newsletter dated 13. December 2017 we highlighted that the Danish Immigration Services had changed its interpretation of the rule of exemption as follows:

  1. it no longer applied to activities carried out under an exploitation license;
  2. it required the foreign worker to be a specialist; and
  3. it required the work to be performed by the foreign worker to be completed within the three-month stay.

After several attempts to get clarification from the Ministry of Immigration and Integration regarding the confirmation of this interpretation, Nuna Law Firm has in collaboration with Greenland Business Association supported Aaja Chemnitz Larsen (MP) in clarifying this matter directly with the Minister of Immigration and Integration, Inger Støjberg (MP).

Based on the replies given by the Minister, we can conclude the following regarding the above-mentioned interpretation by the Danish Immigration Services:

    1. Only activities carried out under an exploration license
      The Minister retracts this part of the interpretation, and states that the rule of exemption applies to both exploration and exploitation licenses given in accordance with the Mineral Resources Act.
    2. The foreign worker must be a specialist
      This part of the interpretation is also retracted by the Minister. Consequently, it is not required that the foreign worker is specialised within its field of work.
    3. The work performed by the foreign worker must be completed within the three-month stay
      On this point however, the Minister confirms the interpretation given by the Danish Immigration Services. Further, it is highlighted that a structure in which several foreign workers replace each other while working on the same “work process” for a period exceeding 90 days is to be perceived as a circumvention of the rules.

Although the replies from the Minister provides some degree of clarity on the requirements for the rule of exemption, it remains unclear how “work process” is to be understood and evaluated.

If the companies want to use a model in which foreign workers are working in continuation of one another, we recommend evaluating the type of work they are to carry out, and whether it can be perceived as being the same “work process”.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,
Peter Schriver