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Mar

417:09

Community building for green card holders

 
Anjelli Requintina knew how hard it was to find a job as an outsider. Now she helps Green Card holders navigate the Danish labour market and into work

For some, the opportunity to live and work in Denmark is a dream come true. But for many of the thousands of aspirational migrants that have arrived on Green Cards, the dreams didn’t live up to reality.

It’s not that they didn’t have the language or educational skills needed by Denmark’s knowledge sector. Green Card holders have to satisfy high educational, language and work experience requirements in order to be considered.

The problem is, rather, that finding a job is often more about who you know, rather than what you know. As a result, non-Danes often struggle to break into the labour market because of their limited networks.

Responding to her calling
But one Green Card holder, Anjelli Requintina from the Philippines, decided that something should be done and started a community for Green Card holders.

“I’ve always had a social focus and a hint of entrepreneurial spirit in me, which explains why I started this initiative,” Requintina explains. “I saw the call for a community among Green Card holders and so I addressed it. They have a lot of potential, and after quickly joining the community people have already started finding work.”

The goal is provide Green Card holders with the necessary tools and contacts for finding work. Those arriving in Denmark with Green Cards are offered little support from the government, and are expected to navigate the system on their own.

Lars Ole Kruse from Jobindex speaks to the assembled Green Card holders

Lars Ole Kruse from Jobindex speaks to the assembled Green Card holders

One tool the Requintina and the Greencard support team employs are mentoring sessions, such as the one that is taking place today in a cultural centre in Copenhagen’s Nord Vest district. Members are given one-on-one advice on everything from writing job applications and CVs, to interview techniques.

Requintina is in a good position to help her fellow Green Card holders, as she has both studied and worked professionally in Denmark – she has an MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Roskilde, and experience as international manager of the children’s department of the Christian conference centre, Københavns Kulturcenter.

Difficult labour market
Since its inception earlier this year, the community has amassed 170 members, and is growing steadily. Many have even found jobs, including Krishna Venkatarman who now works at the shipping giant Mærsk.

Mohammad Rahmanian (left) and Krishna Venkatarman both found jobs through the community.

Mohammad Rahmanian (left) and Krishna Venkatarman both found jobs through the community.

When he first arrived, however, he thought it was going to be much easier to find a job.

“I applied for jobs and gave out CVs but I was repeatedly told my Danish wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Through Anjeli, I learned about the way to approach people and to target opportunities.”

But it doesn’t stop there. As the members get better at networking and integrating into the labour market, they share their experiences with fellow members of the community.

“If I find something, I share it with the group – we are always sharing with each other,” says Krishna.

Requintina says her community thrives on kindness and a willingness to help others. It’s a big change from the situation that Green Card holders first experienced after arriving in Denmark.

“They were just left all on their own,” she says, solemnly.

Her community is an integration project that helps put to use skilled and educated individuals that have moved thousands of kilometres with the hope of starting a new life.

And thanks to Requintina, they may well be on their way. M

To find future events for Green Card holders, search on Meetup.com, or email info@greencardsupport.dk

News

By Oliver Raassina

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