Affirmative Action for Immigrants

Aftenposten (Oslo), December 19, 2007

The Norwegian government will implement a program of moderate immigrant hiring quotas at 12 state services.

The test program will include the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), the Directorate of Public Construction and Property, the Norwegian State Housing Bank and nine other state operations, Aftenposten reports.

The moderate quotas will give “positive special treatment” to immigrants when they have approximately the same qualifications as other applicants.

“Moderate quotas are a reasonably strong tool,” said Minister of Government Administration and Reform Heidi Grande Røys.

“This applies primarily to those immigrants who have the greatest problems entering the job market. We are not talking about Swedes,” Røys said, and pointed out that even though immigrant unemployment is dropping, the gap between jobless Norwegians and out of work immigrants remains large.

The final regulatory framework for the quotas will be set by January 9 when the test begins.

The 12 state operations involved in the have been chosen because they have many employees and so a certain turnover in their workforce.

The Norwegian State Housing Bank and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organization (NAV) also have a geographic spread with several regional offices across the country. The NPD is located in Stavanger while the others are in Oslo.

“We are setting an example. I am a state employer. So we will lead the way and take the responsibility that we want others to take as well,” Røys said.

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