Several Danish sea farms have foreign national workers come to Denmark to help extract roe from trout in the roe season.
A citizen requested to be informed of the number of foreign national workers, especially from Japan, working for a number of businesses in the slaughtering season 2021/22.
The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) stated that 33 first-time permits were granted to the relevant businesses. The permits were residence and work permits granted on the basis of the foreign nationals’ special individual qualifications.
SIRI and the Ministry of Immigration and Integration refused to inform the number of permits per sea farm. According to the authorities’ assessment, the information about permits per sea farm would involve a risk of identification of individuals and thus be subject to Section 30(i) of the Access to Public Administration Files Act, which exempts information about private matters from access.
The Ombudsman disagrees with this assessment. According to the Ombudsman, information that a foreign national has a residence or work permit of the kind mentioned is not information that says anything about the individual’s private matters.
These kinds of permits are granted based on the foreign nationals’ qualifications in carrying out specific work, which have been assessed from their educational background, previous work experience and relevant personal qualities. And such information does not reveal personally sensitive matters.
‘The authorities cannot generally refuse to disclose information about foreign nationals’ residence and work permits. Information of that kind can only be exempted from access if they reveal underlying sensitive matters, and nothing about this has been stated in this case,’ says Parliamentary Ombudsman Niels Fenger.
The Ombudsman has recommended that the Ministry of Immigration and Integration reopen the case and make a new decision.
Read the Ombudsman's statement (in Danish only).
Parliamentary Ombudsman Niels Fenger, tel. +45 42 47 50 91
Senior Head of Division Kirsten Talevski, tel. +45 33 13 25 12
Section 30(i) of the Access to Public Administration Files Act, on individuals’ private matters
Section 30(i) of the Access to Public Administration Files Act has the following wording:
‘Section 30. The right of access does not include information about
1) individuals’ private, including financial, matters (…)’
When assessing which information concerns ‘private matters’, it must be considered if the information is of such a nature that it should be possible to demand that it be exempt from public knowledge according to general public opinion. As such, the provision does not allow all specific information about individuals’ matters to be withheld.
When assessing whether a piece of information can be exempted from access according to Section 30(i), it is thus decisive if the information, based on a general assessment according to its nature, concerns information about individuals’ private, including financial, matters. However, it is not a prerequisite for exempting information that secrecy in the specific case is important to the individual whom the information concerns.