The use of external labor in Greenland

Arctic Consensus Ph.D. partner Verena Huppert, wrote, in the week 51 edition of the Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq, an article titled “Mere udefrakommende arbejdskraft – ja tak!”  (More external labor – yes, please!)

In the article, Verena Huppert addresses the pending debate on labor in Greenland, starting with the question “how can Greenlandic politicians, on one hand, fight for increased independence and, on the other, make life difficult for business by continuously tightening the rules for external workers?”.

Verena Huppert comes with a clear call for the politicians to listen to the needs of the business sector. Greenland lacks both hands and skills. There are many reasons for the competency gap that arises when employers demand competencies that do not exist locally. Huppert list reasons such as; low level of education, geographical conditions, a public safety net, social conditions, and emigration. Huppert, therefore, believes external labor is a necessity for the country’s business life. This attitude do not seem to be shared by Greenland’s politicians. She also questions why Greenland’s labor policy is not more solution-oriented?

Huppert agrees that education and skill upgrading of local labor is the way forward, and also believes that Greenland is well on its way. At the same time, she sees the idea of a 100% Greenlandic labor market as absolutely unrealistic – Greenland is simply too small. Huppert believes that by supporting external labor a business life can be created, which can lay the foundation for that better tomorrow the whole of Greenland wish for.