Foreign workers "feel lost in underprepared system"

10.03.2023 - 09:52
Foreign workers "feel lost in underprepared system"
The lack of a central institution where migrant workers can seek help is becoming ever clearer, says trade union representative
The ALS employment office in Tórshavn

More and more stories are emerging about migrant workers who end up in difficulties in the Faroes.

The situations vary greatly, but a common scenario is that foreign workers fall between the cracks of an underprepared system, according to Høgni í Stórustovu, departmental manager at the ALS unemployment office.

”Many foreign workers come here with a work contract. If this contract is terminated, the reason for their staying here disappears,” he says.

“This is an incredibly stressful situation to be in, and it doesn’t make it any easier when there is a language barrier.”

 >> SEE ALSO Foreign workers are not robots

Hisham Sahli is one of these people. He travelled from Morocco to the Faroes almost a year ago.

”I came here because I wanted to help my family back home. It was my dream to build a home here and then have my family move in with me,” he explains.

But his time in the Faroes proved tougher than he had expected. He received no wages in the first two months of working and the rest of the time he was only paid a fraction of what he had earned.

Sahli is currently unemployed. His work permit expires in four days, after which he will have to leave the country.

Nowhere to go for help

The number of such cases is rising fast because people who end up in these situations have nowhere to go for help, according to Sonja Jógvansdóttir, the chairwoman of Samtak, an umbrella body for trade unions.

“The police say it’s not a police matter, and the Immigration Office says they only offer guidance to new arrivals,” she says.

“We as a trade union have been pushing for talks with the government about this problem, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in finding a solution.”


Read the Faroese version of this article here.

More Faroese News in English.

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