The Executive Director of the Norwegian Association of Fish Producers, calls for State to subsidise stay of foreign workers in quarantine hotels
The cod season off Lofoten and Vesterȧlen in Norway will start in the new year with foreign workers expected flock to the islands for work in the fish processing factories there.
It is estimated that the fish processing companies will have to employ up to 4,000 people as it can thought than that these employees will come from abroad even though unemployment is significant in Norway, but it is believed that it will be difficult to get Norwegians to come to work in the seasonal area, in addition to which the jobs in the fish processing industry are physically demanding and therefore not considered desirable.
Foreign workers are expected to be tested upon arrival in the country, and if the sample is negative, the people must be quarantined for ten days before they can start work. In the quarantine, the person in question must stay in a single room, which can be assumed to be most often in the company’s premises.
The Norwegian Fish Producers’ Association sees a flaw in this arrangement and believes that it would be more appropriate for people to stay for ten days in special quarantine hotels that would be operated at the international airport in Gardermoen near Oslo and at the border where the workers came by land to Norway.
The organisation believes that it would be difficult for the staff to stay in the quarantine in a tent in a small community where there was a risk that they would be looked down upon.
Geir Ove Ystmark, Executive Director of the Association of Fish Producers, considers it appropriate for the State to subsidise the stay of foreign staff in such quarantine hotels. Ystmark says that it has already been noticed that residents in the coastal areas look down on foreign employees of fish processing companies, even though the employees have permanent residence in Norway. He is therefore very concerned about the state of affairs when a large number of staff come from abroad at the beginning of the season and it is important then that it is possible to inform the residents that all these people went for sampling and quarantine before they arrived.
Ystmark’s claims that it is necessary for the foreign workers stay in quarantine hotels not to be too costly for the companies and the State therefore needs to participate more in the costs than has been expected. He is also concerned that the hotels will not be able to accommodate the entire number of wokers who will have to quarantine upon arrival in the country.