For ever crossing borders

'I believe in the end, everything will be OK'

Fatima is a refugee from Caucasus and lives in Vadsø with her husband and two sons. She has obtained a resident permit in Norway, but there are still so many borders to cross.

Will she ever feel like a fully accepted resident of Norway, like getting a full time job that she is educated for?

Fatima came to Norway as a refugee with her family in 2002. Escaping conflicts in Caucasus, she and her family were given permanent residency after years of struggle.

She is trained as a teacher of mathematics in Russia, but the quest for recognition of that education has been a long one. She has been working as an unqualified health worker, part time, for many years. She has taken a health workers certificate, but still has no full time job in that profession.

It is hard for refugees to find work according to qualifications in Norway. Even in the northernmost county of Finnmark, where there always seems to be too few qualified science teachers.

The head of the employment office NAV in Vadsø, Helge Roald, has told that the unemployment rate among refugees in Vadsø is higher than for the rest of the population. Refugees with higher education are less likely to find a job that matches their qualifications. According to Roald, this is due to prejudice in society, and it is a national trend.

In this film Fatima works hard to get the drivers license. Today she has got it. But that specific struggle also becomes a metaphor. Will she ever be able to work as a teacher in mathematics? And underlying this, will she ever cross the final border and feel like a full-fledged citizen of Norway?

This story was first published in 2013.

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