Sweden’s high unemployment rate has caused many girls to cross the border in search of a job but Norwegians regularly exploit their situation, according to Dagbladet.
Young Swedes working as cleaners and au pairs in private homes in Norway get paid 25 kroner per hour.
For a salary as little as 4,500 kroner per month, many have to work long hours, in addition to evenings and weekends.
Keeping things Scandinavian is an advantage for Norwegians because of the similar culture and language. There is no need to ‘integrate’ Swedes into society, or pay for language tuition costing 6,000 kroner if choosing to follow the rules surrounding au pairs.
Moreover, by using one Norway-based recruiting agency, families can avoid long-term commitments should their au pair fall ill.
“The family is obliged to provide food, board, and pay for 16 days. In cases of serious illness, the family can decided to terminate the contract in consultation with the doctor and agency,” state its conditions.
“I find it surprising that young Swedes accept these types of working conditions that are worse than in their home country. We thought this only applied to people from the Philippines until now,” says Knut Bodding, senior negotiator at the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO).
Firing somebody after 16 days of sick leave is illegal according to Norwegian employment law, but Mr Bodding admits there is little LO can do for now.
“The big problem is that the job takes place in private homes. Therefore, there is little transparency and it is difficult for us to find out exactly what is going on.”
The Director of the employment agency does not feel criticism from LO is justified.
“I don’t see what the problem is and have not received any complaints. These types of jobs exist in Sweden, but these are girls who prefer to travel to a neighbouring country to get new impressions and experiences before continuing their studies back home.”
Meanwhile, new figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show immigrant unemployment is at 7.1 percent, a rise of 1.5 percent in one year.
The numbers are particularly high for individuals from EU countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“The high level of unemployment among Africans is partly due to the dominance of refugees within this group. African immigrants have, for several years had the highest registered unemployment rate irrespective of the economic cycles. With regard to the immigrants from the EU countries in Eastern Europe, their unemployment rate is caused by the declining economic cycles and the loss of jobs that many labour immigrants within the construction industry experienced during 2009. However, the unemployment growth within this group is now much weaker than compared to 2009,” writes SSB’s Bjørn Olsen in an email to The Foreigner.
614 Swedes were registered as unemployed at the end of last year.
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