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Norway's unwelcome risk for Swede guest workers

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Young Swedish workers coming to Norway may face a difficult time. Photo: Shutterstock
01:22 CET+01:00
Young Swedes, keen to take advantage of higher Norwegian salaries and abundant work opportunities, are being warned they run the risk of unscrupulous employers and poor work conditions.
Experts are now advising Swedish job seekers to understand the reality of living and working in the world's most prosperous country.
Oslo is the top lure in Norway for jobless Swedes, particularly in the hospitality sector. Higher salaries and the capital city's proximity to Sweden has seen many thousands of Swedes make the journey over the border for a share in Norway's booming economy.
Yet some Norwegian employers stand accused of abusing the law and the rights of their foreign staff.
"Many people in Oslo's restaurant scene have used young people who aren't aware of their rights," said Ida Tolgensbakk, a PhD candidate at Oslo University.
Tolgensbakk, whose research has been focused on Swedish guest workers over several years, told that examples of Swedes being mistreated included unpaid trial shifts, jobs without written contracts, lower salaries than the Norwegians and different working conditions.

Norwegian unions have also added their concern for the situation.

Torbjörn Ness of the Norwegian union LO has worked to inform Swedes of their rights in Norway's job market.

Ness said to Sveriges Radio: "In the meetings we've had so far this year with young Swedes, we've noticed that there are truly a lot more Swedes working in worse conditions than their Norwegian colleagues."

Some Norwegian towns have been exposed for paying Swedes to come over to work, while employees in other sectors, such as the medical industry, have been tempted by more attractive working conditions.

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