“The darker the skin, the more difficult it becomes” / News / The Foreigner

“The darker the skin, the more difficult it becomes”. “Immigrants from non-Western countries have been discriminated against in Norwegian working life for the past 20 years” according to Ahmed Bozgil, managing director of Hero Norway – an organisation that helps refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. He doesn’t this will improve until Norwegian employers rid themselves of their prejudice. “Last week, I was told by someone working in a personnel agency that an employer advertised one position that attracted 150 job-seekers. He put 100 applications aside and didn’t even look through them, because they were all from non-Western immigrants,” Ahmed Bozgil tells The Foreigner. He criticises Norwegian employers for their attitudes and partisanship, calling it a phenomenon that has become more obvious, and one that occurs in all professions, country-wide.

ahmed, bozgil, hero, norway, norwegian, employers, discrimination, prejudice, negative, immigrants, non-western, fear, unknown, inexperience, incompetent



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“The darker the skin, the more difficult it becomes”

Published on Wednesday, 4th November, 2009 at 00:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 4th November 2009 at 14:09.

“Immigrants from non-Western countries have been discriminated against in Norwegian working life for the past 20 years” according to Ahmed Bozgil, managing director of Hero Norway – an organisation that helps refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. He doesn’t this will improve until Norwegian employers rid themselves of their prejudice.

Ahmed Bozgil
Ahmed Bozgil
Photo: Hero Norway


It’s to do with attitude

“Last week, I was told by someone working in a personnel agency that an employer advertised one position that attracted 150 job-seekers. He put 100 applications aside and didn’t even look through them, because they were all from non-Western immigrants,” Ahmed Bozgil tells The Foreigner.

He criticises Norwegian employers for their attitudes and partisanship, calling it a phenomenon that has become more obvious, and one that occurs in all professions, country-wide.

“If an applicant comes from an English-speaking country, employers look more at their skills rather than who they are. For non-Western immigrants, it’s the reverse.”

It doesn’t end there, however. Bozgil goes on to say that their fear of the unknown leads to far more that just pure discrimination. He believes that employers’ inexperience of particularly non-Western immigrants makes them conclude that this group is incompetent; something which he thinks is misguided.

“It’s a pity, really. By doing this they miss out on a wealth of experience by excluding resourceful, knowledgeable people with both social and linguistic competence,” he says.

Negative publicity

Bozgil thinks there are two reasons for this. On the one hand Norway is a country that has a young working culture with relatively little international experience, but the media is also to blame.

“When it comes to their coverage of foreigners, there’s been a lot of focus on conflicts, social problems, and criminality. I also believe that the darker the skin, the more difficult it becomes, especially if you have a name from a Muslim country, one with religious associations, and if you come from Somalia or other African country.”

Action

He believes that something has to be done if this is to change at all and suggests, amongst other things, that both the unions and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) confront the issue.

“The authorities should also scrutinise and follow how the situation is progressing. If a business is found to be systematically excluding immigrants, for example, then they should not be awarded state contracts.”

Bozgil also says he thinks the media could help rid employers of their prejudice by portraying immigrants in a more positive manner.

“Because some businesses have actually made a point of employing immigrants and succeeded, you see,” he concludes.



Published on Wednesday, 4th November, 2009 at 00:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 4th November 2009 at 14:09.

This post has the following tags: ahmed, bozgil, hero, norway, norwegian, employers, discrimination, prejudice, negative, immigrants, non-western, fear, unknown, inexperience, incompetent.





  
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