2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
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For young Danes planning to complete a volunteering placement abroad, two EU programmes are particularly relevant:
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC)
The numbers below show incoming, outgoing and in-country volunteers under the ESC programme. The decrease in the number of incoming volunteers from 2019 to 2020 can probably be seen as a consequence of the corona-virus restrictions in 2020.
|Individual volunteers||Volunteering teams||Total||Individual volunteers||Volunteering teams||Total|
In Denmark, the National Agency for Higher Education and Science administers the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The agency is also National Agency for the Erasmus+ programme. The agency coordinates and monitors young people's participation in ESC in accordance with the European Commission’s guidelines.
EU Aid Volunteers Programme
This programme is aimed at individuals who have completed their education or vocational training. While applicants without any professional experience are welcome, some work experience is generally required. All volunteers are thoroughly prepared for their placement in a humanitarian aid programme.
The following Danish organisations are accredited sending organisation:
- ActionAid Denmark
- Danish Refugee Council
- Engineers without Borders Denmark
EACEA is in charge of the life-cycle management of the programme, including analysis of grant requests and monitoring of projects.
Denmark does not have a national programme for international voluntary work. Even though a large number of organisations offer international voluntary programmes, none meet the criteria of being large scale and at least 50% publicly funded.
Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers
Volunteers coming to Denmark are subject to the general Danish Aliens Act (Udlændingeloven, LBK nr. 1205 af 25/08/2022).
A distinction is made between volunteers coming from Nordic countries, EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, and volunteers coming from third countries.
Citizens of a Nordic country (Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden) can enter, live, study and work in Denmark without a visa, work permit, or residence permit.
Citizens of an EU/EEA country and Switzerland are covered by EU rules, which means that they can stay in the country for three months without an EU residence document. After three months in Denmark, a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland must apply for an EU residence document at The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).
Furthermore, the volunteer must be able to provide for him/herself.
If an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen has an entry ban to Denmark, he or she must apply for a visa.
If a young person of a third country has found an unpaid voluntary job in Denmark where the work tasks have a social or humanitarian aim, the young person may be granted a residence permit as a volunteer. In order to be granted a residence permit, certain conditions must be met. The young person must be:
- In the 18-30-year age group.
- Able to support him/herself financially.
- The organisation arranging the stay or the volunteer workplace must take out a health and liability insurance that covers the volunteer during their stay in Denmark.
- If the volunteer stays in Denmark for more than 3 months, health insurance is not needed.
- It follows from Danish legislation that persons who reside in Denmark, i.e., are registered in the national register, are entitled to benefits under the Health Act.
During the stay, the young person is not allowed to take salaried work and is not entitled to public benefits.
With a residence permit, the young person is entitled to:
- Stay in Denmark for the period he or she is employed as a volunteer. However, the period cannot be longer than 18 months.
- Participate in partially user-paid Danish lessons if the volunteer has turned 18 and the Danish address is registered in the Danish National Register.