African Press International (API)

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Immigrants still battle underemployment

Posted by African Press International on July 10, 2008

Employment of immigrants has increased in Norway in recent years, largely because of a labour shortage, but many remain underemployed, since they’re only offered jobs below their competence levels.

Examples are numerous: Educated pharmacists from overseas working as health aides, engineers working as secretaries or custodians, lawyers working as clerks. Newspaper Dagens Nringsliv highlighted the situation again on Wednesday, citing a new report from Norway’s Institute for Social Research (Institutt for samfunnsforskning, ISF)

The report concluded that many employers in Norway lack the will or ability to integrate foreigners into their workforces.

“It’s a serious problem that foreigners’ competence isn’t recognized in Norway,” said researcher Julia Orupabo of ISF.

In many cases, language proficiency is a problem, if foreigners have trouble communicating in Norwegian and Norwegian is required on the job. In other cases, Norwegian authorities don’t recognize the education or training received in other countries and insist that even professionals obtain recertification in Norway.

Orupabo said that many foreigners already have all the education that the Norwegian labour market needs, for example as economists or civil engineers, but they don’t get offered relevant jobs.

“Then I maintain that employers need to do some self-examination, and re-evaluate their own recruiting methods,” she told Dagens Nringsliv.

Foreigners from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia make up as much as 25 percent of Oslo’s population, and 10 percent nationwide, but remain overrepresented in unskilled jobs, according to state statistics bureau SSB. They are underrepresented in jobs requiring higher education and in management positions.



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