Costly Asian workers take unpopular jobs in Greenland

Locals have problems with work ethics and refuse to take certain jobs

As Greenland struggles with an unemployment rate of about 10 percent, Asian workers are getting jobs in the country, DR reports.

Foreign workers, especially of Asian origin, are hired within the local hospitality and service sector.

At a restaurant in Nuuk, the country's capital, guests are often served by a waitress from Thailand. 

Hotel rooms are also cleaned by Asian labourers rather than local citizens.

It harms local economy
According to Torben M Andersen, the chairman of Greenland's Economic Council, this paradox harms the country's economy.

"While we have a high rate of unemployment, there are many jobs available that don't require any special qualifications," Andersen told DR News.

Foreign labor is costly
Similarly, the chairman of the catering trade association, Helge Tang, explains that getting personnel from abroad is both costly and cumbersome.

"We have to pay for their travel costs, accommodation and boarding. There is also a lot of administration that takes time to process. So, if we could hire local workers, we would," Tang noted.

He also points out this problem does not only apply to the hospitality industry but also affects construction and fish industry. 

"It's a paradox. Even though we have such a high rate of unemployment, there are many vacancies that can not be filled." 

A problem with work ethics
Mogens Kleist, a member of the new Greenlandic party Partii Naleraq, believes something must be done to ensure vacant jobs go to Greenlanders. 

Kleist admits, however, that Greenlanders have a problem with work ethics.

"When some people get their salary, they don't show up for work the next day. It cannot go on like this, of course. It costs the employer money," Kleist remarked.

They want to be heard
He suggests organising a course for those involved to try and come up with a solution that might lead to Greenlanders taking the unpopular jobs.

"I have talked to many unemployed people who would be interested in attending such a course. It would make them happy. It is important to listen to them and understand them," Kleist said.