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Denmark wants more international students

Although the number of EU citizens coming to study and work in Denmark is increasing (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, February 2014), the opposite trend is observed for non-EU students. This is not good news for Denmark because analyses show that even when international students benefit from the Danish student grants and loans schemes, they do contribute to Denmark’s economy. 

For this reason, the Danish government has a new plan - to attract and keep the most talented international (non-EU) students in order to remain competitive in the international market and top global research scoreboards. "Denmark – an attractive study destination – How to attract and retain talent from abroad" is the new action plan offering international students better conditions for studying and working, and aiming to create growth and employment in the country’s business sector. The action plan has two main objectives broken into 5 measures, and accompanied by 24 concrete initiatives for facilitating recruitment of international students.

The two main objectives: 1) to attract the most capable international students to Denmark, and 2) to retain international graduates in the country should be achieved by the following measures:

  • Ensuring that the higher education system in all its parts has a strong international dimension
  • Attracting more talented fee-paying students to the country
  • Keeping drop-out rates of international students on the same level as those of Danish students
  • Having more students stay and work in Denmark after graduation
  • Providing equal employment opportunities to international students as those of Danish students 


The 24 initiatives outlined in the action plan focus on several types of actions: those that aim to optimise the potential of existing study courses, programmes and partnership schemes ( portal, Cultural Agreements Programme, etc.); those that aim to link the higher education and business sectors (private foundations and business study grants); and a number of actions to simplify administrative procedures, either regarding applications for residence and work permits, or the processing of academic qualifications, enrolments or pricing schemes.  

This is the second part of the government’s action plan to open up the country to internationalisation in higher education. The first one, which aimed at sending more Danish students to study abroad, was launched in June 2013 under the title "Enhanced insight through global outlook".

Press release

Action plan summary (PDF)