- No quarantine for Russian workers

Finnmark Count Governor, Runar Sjåstad

Russian workers having worked in Norway for two years should not be forced to take one year suspension periods, County Governor of Finnmark, Runar Sjåstad, says. The proposed Norwegian regulation on Russian work immigration will hamper efficient cross-border labor market development, he underlines.

The Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion has distributed a draft law on part-time employment of Russian workers in Norwegian companies.  It says that all jobs must first be announced within the European Economic Area (EEA), before Russians can be employed. In Russia’s neighbouring Norwegian county of Finnmark, both politicians and business people protest the proposed  measures, arguing that they will not facilitate cross-border labor movement.

− The county council believes the import of Russian workforce should be made as easy as possible. Also when it comes to part-time positions, Finnmark County Governor Runar Sjåstad writes in his presentation for the council.

Sjåstad would like the government to pass special adjustments for the Finnmark County, since it is the neighbouring county to Russia and many companies here depend on Russian workforce. The ministry has suggested giving Russian part-time workers a permit of two years, but after that they must have a suspension period of one year before applying again.

However, even before that, the companies must first find out whether there are workers within the EEA who can be recruited.

− There is no logic in training a worker for two years, and then be requested by government to set this person on a one year suspension. A regulation like this will only hamper the intension of labor market facilitation for Russian workers, says Sjåstad to Sør-Varanger Avis.