Thank you Chair,
The issue of migration, and the cause of the migrant worker has been an important issue for years. And as we have already heard here today the issue is growing even more important almost by the day as an effect of the situation in parts of the world.
Norway ratified the conventions C97 and C143 in 1955 and 1979 respectively, and is one of only 17 states that have ratified both conventions.
Labour migration has had a significant impact on the Norwegian labour market the past 10 years, due in large part to the enlargement of the EU combined with a long period of economic growth.Immigrants and persons on short-term stay have accounted for almost 70 percent of the employment growth since 2004 and all employment growth since 2009.
The viability of the Norwegian welfare state depends on high rates of employment. The inclusion of immigrants in the labour market is therefore of importance not only for the benefit of individual immigrants, but also for the economy as a whole.
The equal treatment of migrant workers is an important part of the issue. It is essential to avoid the separation of the work force into different groups of workers who benefit from unequal levels of protection according to their origin or nationality. Inclusion in the work force on equal conditions is also a key factor in the integration into society.
It is also important to ensure that migrant worker are not exploited as a part of work related crime or trafficking.
The Government has introduced a strategy with different measures to combat crime related to working life. The implementation is a joint project including the labour inspectorate, tax authorities, our welfare authorities, migration authorities, police and others, and in cooperation with the social partners.
The tripartite cooperation has been a prerequisite to succeed in this endeavor. Both in creating the strategies, and enforcing the measures in an effective way.
Another measure is the possibility of making collective agreements generally applicable. This means that one or more provisions of a collective agreement – on minimum pay or other working conditions –are made applicable to all work performed by Norwegian and foreign workers within a given industry. Here too the work with the social partners is essential.
To conclude ; Based on our experience of the last years of increased migration our view is that equal treatment is essential both for the workers and the society as a whole, and will be even more important in the years to come. We support a revision of the instruments to make them more up to date as indicated by the expert committee, and thereby attain more ratifications.