In 2011 255 Filipinos where granted a skilled workers residence permit to Norway, a majority of which were nurses. To become a nurse in Norway, one also needs to apply for a health authorization license. Read here for more information about the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel.
After being told by a Norwegian friend that a lot of Filipino nurses were working in Norway, Rodolfo applied for a skilled workers permit and moved to Oslo fall 2011 after being granted the permit. For almost a year now, he has been working at a home for elders, taking care of old people that are no longer capable of taking care of themselves. A part from the cold weather, this has also been of the most striking cultural differences that Rodolfo has encountered. Whereas in the Philippines old people are usually taken care of by their relatives, in Norway most old people are sent to care homes.
At first, he tells, working at the home was quite challenging. ‘I did not know that much Norwegian so it was hard communicating with colleagues and those of the elders that did not speak English. But the other staff has been very friendly and taught me everything I needed to know at work. Also the elders where cooperating with me and made me feel at home. I have been treated very well, although sometimes being a foreigner does leave me at a disadvantage because of cultural and language barriers. All in all the best advice I can give to a fellow Filipino wanting to work in Norway is to be patient and dedicated to their work. There are challenges ahead but overall things will work out as long as you keep a smile on your face!’
Rodolfo is also taking Norwegian language courses outside his working hours. This has helped him a lot at work seeing that he can now communicate better with the elders. He finds Norwegian to be a hard language to learn, but is enjoying the process.
Rodolfo furthermore tells that he really likes living and working here in Norway. ‘Most of the people are friendly and helpful. I have experienced several times that whenever I am confused or have to ask someone for help with something, Norwegians are very willing to accommodate me. I have made Norwegian friends here and they have made life a lot easier for me, teaching me all I need to know about living here, and given me both emotional and social support.’
There is also quite a big group of Filipinos working at the same care home as Rodolfo, and they often have social gatherings. ‘I am happy that there exists a Filipino community here so that we can help each other get through homesickness and other problems that might come along. It is hard to work away from your family and sometimes you feel alone. I am renting a flat that is managed by the same care center that I am working for so I also have some Filipino neighbors. We are all living alone in our flats but although living costs here are much higher here than in the Philippines I am able to send money back to my family as well as save some on the side.’ In Norway, foreigners with valid Residence Permits furthermore have the same rights under Norwegian Employment Law as Norwegian citizens. Foreigners and Norwegians are entitled to the same Pay and Working Conditions. Click here for more information of these rights.
More information on finding a job in Norway may be found on the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administrations (NAV) website.