It has come to light that Polish immigrants are often charged money by “middle men” in order to get work in Iceland.
As reported, a letter sent to the news site Bæjarins Bestu and the Ísafjörður police, signed by 20 Polish workers, accused the foreman of a fish factory in Bolungarvík of charging them each 1,000 Euros for working there.
RÚV reports that this practice might be more common than previously believed.
Anna Wojtynska, a graduate student of anthropology at the University of Iceland, told reporters, “It’s difficult to say that this is completely ethical, but it does happen amongst Poles and other immigrants.”
In fact, research done a few years ago by Kári Gylfason showed that “charging commissions [for finding jobs] appears to be rather common, and it is probable that most of those who have immigrated here had to pay a middle man. Some of these middle men profited from the lack of knowledge and language difficulties of immigrants, and saw it as beneficial to keep them isolated.”
Anna believes there are solutions. She recommends, for example, that employers advertising available jobs include a notice that there are no middle men on their staff. The more information available to workers, she says, the less likely it becomes that middle men take advantage of immigrant labour.