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Unacceptable that companies using the SU scheme to secure cheap labour

May 27, 2016
The Minister for Higher Education and Science opposes companies that falsify employment contracts to use EU students as cheap Labour.

Migrant EU workers in Denmark have the right to obtain SU (State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme) under the same conditions as Danes if they work 10-12 hours per week.

It was recently revealed by television station TV2 that there are examples of some companies profiting from the fact that students are dependant on having a job in order to receive SU. Companies have been using SU as an argument for paying the students a lower salary than what is agreed in their contract.

Unacceptable to circumvent rules

Minister for Higher Education and Science Ulla Tørnæs stresses that it is completely unacceptable to cheat and circumvent the rules to profit from the Danish system.

- It is completely unacceptable for employers and students to cheat in order to profit from the Danish SU system. We already have a thorough control system in place, but I have contacted the tax minister to see if we can strengthen this control even more for companies we suspect of using students and the SU system, says Ulla Tørnæs.

The minister encourages students to get in touch with the relevant trade organisations if they are not being paid the salary as it is agreed in their contracts. They should report to the tax authorities if their employer is not providing the correct information to SKAT.

Thorough check of migrant workers

  • The Danish Agency for Higher Education approves EU students as migrant workers when they have an employment contract the reflects an actual employment of at least 10-12 hours a week.
  • Employment contracts, recent salary slips and relevant time sheets are examined as part of the approval process.
  • Migrant workers who receive SU are checked every month by a digital and automatic control system and via information provided by SKAT from the electronic income register.
  • The Agency does not have the authority to check if employers are reporting incorrect information to SKAT or if they are adhering to the terms of the employment contracts.
  • The Agency can only discover incorrect information if the student makes it known, or if SKAT reports it. In these cases, the agency will examine the case and its impact on the student's SU, and if necessary make a decision on the repayment of the SU.
  • In 2015, there were 1089 cases where the agency required EU workers to repay SU as they did not meet the requirements for being considered a migrant worker and therefore were no longer eligible for SU.

For further information please contact:

Head of legal affairs division Ulf Melgaard, tel: 7231 80 69, ulf@ufm.dk

Press officer Kristina Mie Hansen, tel: 7231 8012, e-mail: kmh@ufm.dk

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