African Press International (API)

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State to tighten ‘au pair’ rules – will it be good for the au pair’s

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2007

State labour officials want to prevent Norwegians from bringing young women to Norway as “au pairs” as a means of obtaining cheap housekeepers and babysitters.

State Secretary Libe Rieber-Mohn claims new rules will help prevent exploitatioon of au pairs in Norway.

PHOTO: SVEIN ERIK FURULUND

The state intends to demand that host families pay for Norwegian classes for the women, and provide them with standard written work contracts.

State Secretary Libe Rieber-Mohn of the Labour Party told newspaper Dagsavisen that the rules would “help keep au pairs from ending up as underpaid housekeepers in Norwegian homes.”

Sociologist Marianne Hovdan, who’s written a master’s thesis on au pairs in Norway, doesn’t think the rules will guard against exploitation of the women.

Hovdan determined in her thesis that au pairs function mainly as household help in Norway, and she believes it will be difficult for the state to enforce its rules.

Rieber-Mohn continues to view the au pair system as part of a cultural exchange. In the past year, 1,511 persons have been granted working permission as au pairs in Norway, up from 277 in 2000. More than 60 percent of the au pairs came from the Philippines.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng

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