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How to get a work permit in Norway

Looking to settle down in the land of Vikings and fjords? Great choice! This country's work-life balance is hard to beat, and you will never tire of the majestic landscape. Before you begin to uproot, you should be aware of a few rules and regulations first. 

Downtown Ålesund.
Downtown Ålesund. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

Finding a job first is key

If you’re looking to establish a life in Norway, you’ll need to find a job. And if you are a resident of a country that is not a part of the EU, your situation can get a little tricky. First, you’ll need a residence permit. And to obtain a residence permit, you usually will have had to find a job first. 

You can look at the rules that apply to the country you are planning to move from here.

No matter your nationality, it would be wise to research the different types of work permits Norway offers first. And find out which one you qualify for before you pay the very expensive, 6,300 kroner in most cases, application fee. 

What is a skilled worker working permit? 

You can qualify as a skilled worker if you have completed higher education or vocational training. A skilled worker must also have shown they have work experience in their specific field before applying for the skilled worker permit. 

If you have received a skilled worker permit but have yet to receive a residence permit, you can apply for an entry visa to come and live in Norway until your residence permit has been completed. 

Note that your job offer/contract must be for a full-time position for this type of permit. If it is for 80 percent, then it will be accepted. But anything less, and your application will be denied. 

What if I don’t have a job offer but am qualified as a skilled worker? 

As previously stated, there is no blanket answer for everyone who applies, and the rules are based heavily on your nationality. We can use the United States, for example. If you apply for a job-seeking visa after qualifying as a skilled worker from the U.S, you can come to Norway to look for a job. But first, you must also prove you have enough money in your account to live in the country while you search for a job. At a minimum, a job seeker applicant needs to have at least 22,670 kroner (2,508 dollars) per month in available funds. This must be your own money, and proof of these funds will be a mandatory part of your application. 

Can I receive a work permit if I am a seasonal worker?

Before you check the specific rules relating to your nationality when applying as a seasonal worker to work within Norway, know that many trades, such as painting and carpentry, do not qualify as seasonal. 

You must also be 18 years old to apply as a seasonal worker and receive a job offer. The work contract you receive must be for full-time work for the entire time you are staying in the country in order for your application to be granted.  

READ ALSO: How to find a winter sports job in Norway

How long do I usually have to wait before I receive an answer on my application for a work permit?

This question is, again, situational based. Though no matter where you look on the UDI site or The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s site, there are warning posts of increased waiting times due to the coronavirus pandemic on almost all types of visa and permit applications with no concrete answers to how long it may take. 

Useful vocabulary and facts

Norway does a lot of transactions digitally. And applying for a work or residence permit will likely be one of the first realistic impressions you get over how this country conducts business. Once you’ve decided what type of work permit you wish to apply for, you will start the process here, at the application portal within UDI’s website. 

If you are one of the lucky employees who have received a job contract with a company that takes care of the work permit application process for you, then congratulations. This can be a challenging and somewhat confusing process at times, having to stay on track with your nationalities rules. But you’re not entirely off the hook. Discuss your application with your Norwegian employer, or international employer based in Norway, to follow your application process and be aware of any documents and information you may need to contribute at a moment’s notice. 

Thinking about hiring an immigration lawyer to help you with your work permit? This could be a great idea and worth the money spent to save your time and keep your stress levels low. But what is most necessary to keep in mind if you take this route is to do diligent research and find an immigration lawyer with a stellar reputation. Also, don’t be afraid to ask around. The names of good immigration lawyers within the international communities in Norway are often readily given to help fellow utlendinger or “foreigners” out. 

Remember, The Local does have its own English language jobs page if you are currently looking for a job in Norway.

jobbsøker – job seeker

intervju – interview

ledig stilling – available position/ vacancy 

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Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

During the first quarter of 2022, there were a record number of job vacancies in Norway available, but which sectors are most in need of workers?

Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

Norway passed 100,000 job vaccines during the first three months of the year, figures from Statistics Norway have revealed.

Compared to the same period a year before, the number of job openings increased by 7.3 percent when the figures are adjusted for seasonal variation.

“The number of vacancies was a record high throughout 2021. This quarter we see a further increase, and the number of vacancies is now over 100,000, the highest in over ten years,” Tonje Køber, from the labour market and wages section at Statistics Norway, said.

Unemployment fell to its lowest level since 2009 in the first quarter, also, figures from the Labour Force Survey show. During the first quarter of 2022, unemployment in Norway was 3.1 percent.


Statistics Norway noted that construction was one of the industries with the highest number of vacancies, but the number of job openings was not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.

In the administration and support sectors, more than 11,200 vacancies were registered. Hospitality and accommodation was another sector with a high number of openings throughout the beginning of the year. Across these sectors, 7,000 vacancies were listed.

More than 6,000 openings were also reported for the comms and information sectors. The professional, scientific, and technical industries had just under 8,000 roles available during this period.

The technical and scientific professions were also the industries with the highest growth in the number of vacancies.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has previously said Norway needs more skilled workers. 

“We now see a strengthened and persistent imbalance between the competence that employers demand and the competence that jobseekers offer,” director of labour and welfare at NAV, Hans Christian Holte, said in a report on unemployment published last month.