Re-Thinking Legal and Factual Barriers in the Internal Market
Edited by Sybe de Vries, Elena Ioriatti, Paolo Guarda and Elisabetta Pulice
Chapter 11: What comes first, language or work? Linguistic barriers for accessing the labour market
Linguistic barriers are often among the first and most evident obstacles that professionals encounter when they move to another Member State. The difficulties of learning and mastering a foreign language can impair the prospects of insertion into the labour market of a host country. In Denmark, language is also supposed to be an instrument for accessing the local culture and national values. The legislation sustains the political assumption that the best place to learn Danish is in the workplace. However, what happens if access to the labour market is precluded until a very high Danish proficiency is achieved? Is it always the responsibility of the individual, or is there perhaps also an underlying cultural barrier that keeps foreign professionals out of the labour market? By exploring formal (legal) and informal (de facto) barriers in Denmark, this chapter approaches the broader question of European Union professionals’ free movement from a language perspective.
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