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One of the first steps to qualify for a residence permit is to have a job offer available to you that is relevant to your education.

Working in Norway

Want to work in Norway? This is what you need to know

Published: Sept. 30 2022

Can EU citizens work in Norway? Can a spouse work in Norway on a dependent visa? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about getting a residence permit in Norway.

If you are thinking about moving to Norway for work, there are certain conditions you must meet.

You might already have what you need to move to Norway, depending on where you are moving from, your current citizenship status and your level of education.

Conversely, you may need to do some preparatory work.

Hegge encourages anyone interested in learning more about the requirements for residence permits to look at the UDI website – which is available in English.

To shed some light on the situation, we asked Vidar Hegge, senior adviser at The Directorate of Immigration of Norway (UDI), some of the most recurring questions about getting a residence permit in Norway.

Can EU citizens work in Norway?

— Yes, you can! There’s the expression ‘free movement of labour’. People from the EU can move to Norway if they have a job here, says Hegge.

Hegge explains that you don’t have to think about conditions for skilled workers as long as you have a citizenship within the European Economic Area (EEA, or EØS in Norwegian) and qualify as an employee.

— You do have to register, but you can come to Norway and start working right away, he adds.

Can I work in Norway if I’m from outside of the EU?

— If you are a skilled worker and a citizen of a non-EU country, you may apply for a residence permit to come here and work, says Hegge.

He adds that there are some terms you must meet as a skilled worker in order to qualify for a residency permit:

  1. You must have the required level of education

    Firstly, to apply as a skilled worker, you must have the appropriate level of education or qualification.

    There are three ways in which you can qualify:
    • You have completed an education or a degree from a university or a university college.
    • You have completed a vocational training programme of at least three years at upper secondary school level, and there is a corresponding training programme in Norway.
    • You qualify in other ways, such as through long professional experience, possibly in combination with some form of education. Qualifying like this demands a high level of competence, and many applicants are rejected for failing to meet these requirements.

  2. You must have a valid and relevant offer of employment

    — There has to be an actual job offer from a Norwegian employer on the table. Your education also has to be relevant to the job offer.
    In fact, the job offered must require qualifications as a skilled worker, and the person must have the qualifications that the job requires, says Hegge.

  3. The offer of employment should be full time

    However, in certain circumstances, such as with healthcare workers, part time employment can also be approved.

    — If you have been offered an 80 percent position, we will accept this, says Hegge.

  4. The working conditions and salary level needs to meet Norwegian standards

    — If the industry you are looking to work in has collective bargaining agreements, your offer of employment needs to meet the requirements in these agreements, says Hegge.

    He explains that for industries without such agreements, the job offer should not have working conditions or salary levels that are below what is normal in that occupation.

  5. You are approved to work in the position you are seeking

    Coming to Norway, you may need a permit to be able to work certain jobs in a Norwegian workplace.

    Doctors, nurses, engineers and electricians are some examples of skilled workers that need approval to work in Norway – even if you are approved to work in your country of origin.

    — This approval lasts for up to three years at a time and allows you to do a specific kind of work. This means that as long as you meet the requirements, you are able to switch between employers without reapplying for approval, says Hegge.

Can a spouse work in Norway on a dependent visa?

— Yes! With a dependent permit, sometimes known as a dependent visa, a spouse gets a general work permit that allows them to apply for any job.
As the skilled worker themself only gets a permit to work within their field, one might even say that the spouse in that sense has a «better» permit, says Hegge.

Can I come to Norway before I apply?

As a skilled worker, you are also able to come to Norway and apply for a residence permit first hand.

— You can apply from here as long as you can document that you are a skilled worker, have a legal form of residence, such as travelling here from a visa free country. You cannot be here seeking asylum and then apply for a residence permit to work here, says Hegge.

People considering this option should however note that there could be a significant waiting period for the application to be processed, and that there is also a waiting period to be able to start working.

Can my employer apply for a residence permit on my behalf?

— To facilitate a smooth transition, the government has allowed for employers to apply for a residence permit on behalf of their employees, says Hegge.

— A lot of people choose to apply this way, says Hegge.

Under power of attorney, the employer can get the process started so that when the skilled worker arrives in Norway, it will all have been taken care of already.

Hegge adds that under power of attorney the employer is also able to apply on behalf of your closest family members.

— Applying for residence permits for the family members as well is a demanding process, but we know that a number of skilled workers do not wish to travel here until they can go with their family, he says.

How do I apply to work in Norway?

To apply for a residence permit in Norway, you must go through the UDI website.

— If you are abroad, you will have to apply from the country of your citizenship, or the country where you have resided for the past six months, says Hegge.

Through the UDI website, you select the country where you have your citizenship, and follow the instructions accordingly.

There you will find the terms and conditions listed, and you will be given thorough instructions for how to proceed and how to book the necessary appointments.

There is also an application fee that, at the time of writing, sits at 6300 NOK (about 630 euros).

Read more about building a career in Norway

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