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Working in Norway: A weekly roundup of the latest jobs news and talking points

Every week The Local brings you a roundup of the latest jobs news and talking points related to working life in Norway. This week we’re looking at a proposed crisis package for tourism, potential income tax cuts and asking whether you think tax in Norway is fair. 

Working in Norway: A weekly roundup of the latest jobs news and talking points
Here's this weeks roundup of working life in Norway. Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Income tax cuts on the horizon? 

Several of Norway’s nine political parties have pledged to cut interest tax for most people on middle-to-low incomes in Norway. However, the tradeoff to this is that higher earners will be taxed more on their income. 

Residents of Norway pay an income tax of 22 percent, in addition to a bracket tax that is calculated based on your income. For example, those who earn between 260,100-651,250 kroner per year will pay a bracket tax of four percent. The bracket tax can be as high as 16.2 percent for high earners. You can read more about tax in Norway here

So far, Labour, the Centre Party, the Socialist Left Party, the Liberal Party and the Red Party have pledged to cut taxes for those on lower to middling incomes with income tax being raised for high earners and wealthy individuals. 

The Conservative Party hasn’t pledged to cut income tax but has suggested introducing tax breaks for younger workers.

Poll: Is income tax in Norway fair? 

For this weeks poll, we want to hear whether or not you think income tax in Norway is fair. 

Norway and Scandinavia as a whole is known for high taxes, but are the taxes worth it considering the higher wages in general, the generous welfare state and the subsidised healthcare system? Let us know your thoughts in the poll below. 

Results: How important is it for foreign workers to speak Norwegian? 

On the subject of polls, we have the results of last weeks survey where we asked you whether or not it was important for foreigners working in Norway to speak Norwegian. 

The majority who responded, 60 percent, said that they thought foreign residents being able to speak Norwegian in the workplace was fairly important, while 40 percent said it was fairly unimportant. 

Susan Borgeteien, a project manager in Oslo, said that Norwegian language skills were essential for her job. 

“I am a native English speaker working in Norway for a large international company. However, all internal meetings and documentation are in Norwegian. This demands that even international companies require Norwegian knowledge,” Susan told our survey. 

William, a software engineer from South Africa, agreed also. 

“It allows for greater familiarity in the workplace and a cultural benefit,” he told the survey. 

Many companies in Norway will use English as their operational language, but there are benefits to having Norwegian language skills, according to Arjen, a delivery manager in Jessheim. 

“Well, in many industries these days, it doesn’t matter much anymore as the working language is English. However, socially it is better to learn and is also very much appreciated by the Norwegians,” Arjen told the survey. 

Having Norwegian language skills doesn’t appear to be essential, however, especially in some industries. Suzana, a software engineer responded. 

“My opinion is in regards to the IT industry. Every IT issue in the world can be solved in English,” She explained to the survey. 

If you want to read more in-depth about the pros and cons of Norwegian in the workplace, then check out one of our articles on the topic here

Centre Party proposes crisis package to prevent job cuts in tourism industry 

The Centre Party are proposing a crisis package aimed at protecting jobs and businesses in the tourism sector. 

An extension of the permittering scheme, where workers laid off or made redundant due to the pandemic receive a percentage of their salary, for industries still being struck by Covid. 

“We believe that extensions of the redundancy schemes that are targeted at the hardest-hit industries must now be put in place. We are talking about several thousand employees in the tourism industry,” member for parliament of the Centre Party, Sigbjørn Gjelskvik, told press agency NTB. 

Last week it was reported that the tourism sector would be facing heavy job losses once various government schemes come to an end in October. If you want to read more on that, then you can check out last weeks roundup

Did you know? 

The working culture in Norway can be characterised as a flat structure with many laws set in place to protect employees. It may be hard to spot who the boss is on your first days of work as he or she is likely dressed the same way as everyone else and is working in the same space.

READ MORE: The work culture in Norway foreigners should be aware of

Useful links

Below you’ll find a couple of helpful articles, guides and resources put together by The Local, which cover key aspects of working life in Norway. 

How to find a winter sports job in Norway

How does income tax in Norway compare to the rest of the Nordics?

Is this useful?

Please get in touch with me at [email protected] to let me know if this weekly feature is useful and any suggestions you have for jobs related articles on The Local Norway.

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Why your Norwegian work permit application might be rejected and how to avoid it

Norway is an attractive proposition for workers from all over the globe. However, some job hunters will need a residence permit for employees to move to the country. The UDI has revealed to The Local the most common reasons applications are rejected. 

Why your Norwegian work permit application might be rejected and how to avoid it

Whether it’s the high salaries, work-life balance, or generous benefits, people from all over the world are lured to Norway for work. 

Last year, more than 21,000 people moved to Norway for work, according to statistics from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

Of these, 7,348 were granted residence permits for work, while the rest were EEA nationals, which meant they didn’t need a work permit. 

To be granted a residence permit for work, you’ll most likely need to have been offered a job first, and the type of permit you apply for will depend on your line of work. You must meet several other requirements to be given a residence permit, such as a minimum salary or a set number of contracted hours. 

Unfortunately, not everyone who applies for a work permit is successful. And as an application fee is involved, it would be handy to know the most common reasons for applications being turned down so you can take steps to avoid them. 

Luckily, the UDI has provided The Local with the most common reasons for applications being denied. 

READ ALSO: How many people move to Norway for work, and where do they come from?

Skilled workers

The skilled worker permit was the type of residence card that was most commonly granted in 2021. Over half of the permits issued to those wanting to live and work in Norway were for skilled employees. 

According to the UDI, one of the most common reasons why applications for skilled workers are rejected is because they do not have the relevant qualifications. 

Typically, the qualifications required for a skilled worker visa are a degree or vocational training of at least three years at the upper secondary level for example, if you have trained or undergone an apprenticeship as a carpenter. For those with vocational qualifications, there must be a corresponding course in Norway. 

Your application may be rebuffed if you have a vocational qualification that isn’t offered at upper secondary school level in Norway. Additionally, if you are applying for a skilled worker permit, the job must be relevant to your skills.

Workers can also prove they are skilled through work experience and have obtained special qualifications gained through employment. However, the criteria for this are much stricter, and the UDI warns that many of these applications are rejected.

In Norway, there are many professions which are regulated. This means special qualifications and training are required to work in these fields. In some cases, you will need to have your qualifications approved to be eligible to work in them.

For example, electricians must get approval from the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection to work in the country. If you have a degree you can also have it verified too.  

Therefore it is imperative to ensure that you meet the qualification requirements. One way of doing this is to liaise with the employer that has offered you a job. You can also contact the UDI before applying to clear up the requirements and see if you meet them, or work with an immigration lawyer. 

You can read about the other requirements for applying for a skilled worker visa here

Seasonal workers 

There is also a permit available for seasonal workers, which is awarded to those performing a job that can only be done at certain times of the year. 

Applications for these permits are most commonly turned down because the UDI feels that the requirements for the job contract are not met. 

To be granted a seasonal worker permit, the job must be for seasonal work or as a holiday stand-in, and the pay and working conditions must not be poorer than what is considered normal in Norway. 

Furthermore, the offer must be for full-time work. A full-time job in Norway is one which has 37.5 hours in a standard working week. 

You can read more specifically about seasonal worker residence cards here