Immigrants Fight For Jobs

Aftenposten (Oslo), July 27

The job market in Norway reportedly has improved, but there’s huge demand for jobs that in turn don’t demand much in the way of Norwegian qualifications. Warehouse and washing jobs can attract hundreds of applicants.

The vast majority of applicants are immigrants who face the biggest hurdles finding work in Norway, even when they speak fluent Norwegian.

Many of those applying for jobs as dishwashers in restaurants or as cleaning personnel in offices are educated as lawyers, doctors and engineers in their homelands, reports newspaper Aftenposten Aften.

Every cleaning company the newspaper contacted said they had long lists of applicants. At Aftenposten itself, demand is high for jobs delivering the paper.

“There is strong competition for these jobs,” said Dyveke Hanza of state employment agency Aetat. “Unskilled workers aren’t seeing any upswing in the labour market.”

Cesar Chavez, who came to Norway with his Norwegian wife, was a musician and music teacher in Mexico. Now he’s thrilled to “finally” have secured a job washing dishes at a restaurant at Oslo’s waterfront complex Aker Brygge.

“I feel very lucky to have this job,” Chavez told Aftenposten. He beat out 200 other applicants for the job, which had been advertised for just three days on Aetat’s web site.

“I have applied for all kinds of jobs, with no luck,” Chavez said. “I began to be very depressed because I never got a positive answer.”

He’s not the only one. Aftenposten’s English news service has received many letters from immigrants and would-be immigrants to Norway who describe the difficulties they’re having, or had, looking for work.

One software engineer from the US gave up, after more than 60 interviews with Norwegian firms, and moved back to the US with his Norwegian wife. Another man returned to Ontario, Canada with his wife after failing to find any work in Norway as well, and says he’s still bitter about the experience.

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