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Denmark – Agency workers head off to Norway as high unemployment hits the labour market

07 February 2012

With the unemployment rate in Denmark nearing the 8% mark, many Danish workers, including agency staff, are now making their way to their Norwegian neighbour in the hope of finding jobs there. A report by the Danish TV channel, TV2, highlighted this trend in Danish society which has been severely hit by the economic crisis, encouraging many Danes to move abroad for work.  

So Norway, which has recently reported a shortage of skilled and professional staff and has a history of being a hotspot for foreign workers, is becoming increasingly attractive to Danish workers. 

The extent of the labour crisis Denmark presently finds itself in is reflected in many of the abandoned construction sites across the country. And it is indeed the construction industry that has been hit hard with one firm going bankrupt after another and cutbacks increasing in the sector.

One worker commented to TV2, “There is a lack of work here [in Denmark]. There are no jobs to be found. So we had to try and look for work in Norway. And it succeeded fairly quickly.”

To solve the problem in the job market, one of Denmark’s largest trade unions, 3F Frederiksborg, have now reached an agreement with a local employment agency in the Western Norwegian region of Sunnmøre where “it is almost impossible to get enough qualified workers,” as the TV2 documentary reports.

“Currently we have about 40 [workers] that are ready to go. And they have the skills Ålesund [a region in Western Norway] needs. In the future, one can imagine that 500 to 700 Danes will get a job in Norway,” said Michael Hansen, a representative of 3F Fredriksborg.

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