Work in Greenland

Værktøj på anlægsarbejder på Island
Photographer
Yadid Levy / Norden.org
Here you can read about the most important things you will need to know or consider if you are thinking about seeking work in Greenland.

If you are considering applying for a job in Greenland, there are several things to consider, including job-seeking, permits, taxation, social security, relocation, housing and working conditions. Below is a checklist of the most important things to be aware of if you wish to work in Greenland.

Work permit

If you are a citizen of a Nordic country, you can live and work in Greenland without applying for a work and residence permit. If you are a citizen of another country, different rules apply, depending on whether or not you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country.

Job-seeking

Most people who move to Greenland have found a job before moving there. Greenland has very low unemployment, so there are always plenty of vacancies to apply for.

Authorisation

In certain professions, you must have a licence in order to practise. In some professions a Nordic licence is sufficient to work in Greenland, while for others you must apply for Danish or Greenlandic authorisation. You should therefore check with your employer or the authorities to find out what is required of you.

Pay and conditions

The labour market in Greenland consists of a private and a public sector. In both sectors, working conditions are regulated by legislation.

The largest group of wage earners in Greenland is employed in the public sector, and their salaries are therefore determined by collective agreement. It may be a good idea to contact the relevant trade union at the time of recruitment.

The normal working week in Greenland is 40 hours. 

Trade unions

There is not a long tradition of trade unions in Greenland, but most occupations are now organised in unions. If you are an academic employee or a secondary school teacher, there are branches of Danish trade unions that admit members who are resident in Greenland.

Unemployment insurance funds

There are no unemployment insurance funds in Greenland. However, it is recommended that you continue your membership of your existing unemployment insurance fund, as you cannot join while you are living in Greenland, and you will not therefore be covered when you move back.

Moving and housing

The housing market is under great pressure in Greenland's largest towns. Many jobs therefore come with associated staff housing, both in the public and private sectors. When applying for a job, you should take the housing aspect into account in your negotiations, as it can be very difficult to find accommodation on your own.

Tax

If you live in Greenland or stay in the country for more than six months, you have full tax liability. This means that you must specify and be taxed on all your sources of income, whether these are in Greenland or abroad.

If you stay for less than six months in Greenland, you are subject to limited tax liability. This means that you only pay income tax on work carried out in Greenland. As soon as you have registered your move to Greenland, you must contact the Tax Agency so that you can be issued with a tax card. If you are moving from Denmark, you must also apply for exemption from Danish tax.

Public assistance

If you move to Greenland to work, you will normally be covered by Greenlandic social security.

Being ‘covered by social insurance’ in a country means that there are rules in that country that apply to you in such areas as:

Seasonal jobs for young people

Nordjobb arranges seasonal jobs for young Nordic and EU citizens aged between 18 and 30. You must be a citizen of a Nordic country or the EU, and master Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

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Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.