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BREXIT

How Brits can get a residence permit in Norway post-Brexit 

Brexit has made it more challenging than before for Brits to relocate to Norway. Here's what you need to know about getting a residence permit.

Here are some of the ways you can get a residence permit in Norway following Brexit. Pictured is a Norwegian flag.
Here are some of the ways you can get a residence permit in Norway following Brexit. Pictured is a Norwegian flag.Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

The United Kingdom leaving the EU has ended free movement for Brits across the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). 

This has made it significantly harder for Brits to relocate and move to Norway, and they’ll need some form of residence permit to live in Norway. 

Brits who were legal residents of the country before Brexit will also need to apply for a residence permit to continue living, working and studying in Norway as they did before the UK left the bloc. You can read more on that here

To move to Norway, you will need a residence permit. For newcomers, this will be a temporary residence permit. There are several ways to obtain a temporary residence permit in Norway which will be valid for between one to three years. After five years in Norway, you can apply for permanent residence. 

Work immigration 

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 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. 

READ MORE: How to get a work permit in Norway

Note that your job offer/contract must be for a full-time position for this type of permit. If it is for 80 percent of full-time hours, then it will be accepted. But anything less, and your application will be denied. If you are lucky, your employer will help with the application process. 

You can also apply for a job seeker visa. You will need to be looking for employment as a skilled worker and must have at least 22,167 kroner per month, or a total of 132,999 kroner for six months available in funding. This must be one’s own funding and be in a Norwegian bank account. 

On the subject of money, an application fee will be involved. This is 6,300 kroner in most cases. 

You can also travel to Norway as a seasonal worker. However, this is less straightforward and harder to secure than a skilled worker visa. You can read more about that here

More detail on the types of skilled workers allowed to come to Norway can meanwhile be found here.

Family Immigration

Spouses, cohabitants, fiancées, children, parents and other family members of Norway residents may be eligible to apply for family immigration. In most cases, you will need to pay a first-time application fee of 10,500 kroner. You can read more on the fees here.

The reference person (the person living in Norway you plan on moving for) will need to have a certain level of income. This is 273,648 kroner per year. You can read more on the income requirements here

Everyone who applies for family immigration must also document their identity. 

Spouses will need to have plans to live in Norway, the marriage be valid, and the marriage must not be forced or a union of convenience. In addition, applicants must be at least 24 years old.

For cohabitants, you will need to be 18, lived together for at least two years, and not married to anyone else or be expecting or having a child together. You can read about the specifics here

Those applying to be with their partner or spouse are also required to provide evidence of the relationship’s legitimacy.

Parents who have responsibility or continued shared custody of a child in Norway can also apply for family immigration. 

In many cases, those applying under the “other family” bracket will only have their applications approved when strong humanitarian reasons are considered. However, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) doesn’t take any particular requirements or guidelines into account. 

You can check out the most common reasons for family immigration permits being rejected here on the Immigration Appeals Board’s (UNE) website.

You can read in more detail about family immigration and check to see what applies to your specific situation here.

Residence card for family members of EU/EEA nationals 

Those from outside the EU/EEA, including Britons following Brexit, can apply for a residence card if the family member they want to stay with is an EU/EEA national. 

This comes with several pros and cons compared to the family immigration route, not least not having to pay an application fee. Neither are there income requirements for the reference person. The case processing time is also reported to be shorter. 

On the flip side, it will take longer to be able to apply for permanent residence compared with family immigration (five years instead of three). 

You can compare the differences in more detail here

Study permit

If you want to study in Norway, you can also be granted residence. You’ll need to have been accepted into a Norwegian educational institution and have enough funds to sustain yourself. The money can consist of student loans grants and your own funds. The UDI will also include any income from a part-time job. 

In addition, you must have somewhere to live. You can read more on study permits here.

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For members

EUROPEAN UNION

How Europe plans to ease long-term residence rules for non-EU nationals

Non-EU citizens living in the European Union are eligible for a special residence status that allows them to move to another country in the bloc. Getting the permit is not simple but may get easier, explains Claudia Delpero.

How Europe plans to ease long-term residence rules for non-EU nationals

The European Commission proposed this week to simplify residence rules for non-EU nationals who live on a long-term basis in the European Union.

The intention is to ease procedures in three areas: acquiring EU long-term residence status, moving to other EU countries and improving the rights of family members. 

But the new measures will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council, which is made of national ministers. Will EU governments support them?

What is EU long-term residence?

Non-EU citizens who live in EU countries on a long-term basis are eligible for long-term residence status, nationally and at the EU level. 

This EU status can be acquired if the person has lived ‘legally’ in an EU country for at least five years, has not been away for more than 6 consecutive months and 10 months over the entire period, and can prove to have “stable and regular economic resources” and health insurance. Applicants can also be required to meet “integration conditions”, such as passing a test on the national language or culture knowledge. 

The EU long-term residence permit is valid for at least five years and is automatically renewable. But the status can be lost if the holder leaves the EU for more than one year (the EU Court of Justice recently clarified that being physically in the EU for a few days in a 12-month period is enough to maintain the status).

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: How many non-EU citizens live in European Union countries?

Long-term residence status grants equal treatment to EU nationals in areas such as employment and self-employment or education. In addition, EU long-term residence grants the possibility to move to other EU countries under certain conditions. 

What does the European Commission want to change?

The European Commission has proposed to make it easier to acquire EU long-term residence status and to strengthen the rights associated with it. 

Under new measures, non-EU citizens should be able to cumulate residence periods in different EU countries to reach the 5-year requirement, instead of resetting the clock at each move. 

This, however, will not apply to individuals who used a ‘residence by investment’ scheme to gain rights in the EU, as the Commission wants to “limit the attractiveness” of these routes and not all EU states offer such schemes. 

All periods of legal residence should be fully counted towards the 5 years, including those spent as students, beneficiaries of temporary protection or on temporary grounds. Stays under a short-term visa do not count.

Children who are born or adopted in the EU country having issued the EU long-term residence permit to their parents should acquire EU long-term resident status in that country automatically, without residence requirement, the Commission added.

READ ALSO: Why it may get easier for non-EU citizens to move to another European Union country

EU countries should also avoid imposing a minimum income level for the resources condition but consider the applicant’s individual circumstances, the Commission suggests.

Integration tests should not be too burdensome or expensive, nor should they be requested for long-term residents’ family reunifications. 

The Commission also proposed to extend from 12 to 24 months the possibility to leave the EU without losing status, with facilitated procedures (no integration test) for the re-acquisition of status after longer absences.

A person who has already acquired EU long-term residence status in one EU country should only need three years to acquire the same status in another EU member state. But the second country could decide whether to wait the completion of the five years before granting social benefits. 

The proposal also clarifies that EU long-term residents should have the same right as EU nationals with regard to the acquisition of private housing and the export of pensions, when moving to a third country. 

Why make these changes?

Although EU long-term residence exists since 2006, few people have benefited. “The long-term residents directive is under-used by the member states and does not provide for an effective right to mobility within the EU,” the Commission says. 

Around 3.1 million third-country nationals held long-term residence permits for the EU in 2017, compared to 7.1 million holding a national one. “we would like to make the EU long-term residence permit more attractive,” said European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

The problems are the conditions to acquire the status, too difficult to meet, the barriers faced when moving in the EU, the lack of consistency in the rights of long-term residents and their family members and the lack of information about the scheme.

Most EU member states continue to issue “almost exclusively” national permits unless the applicant explicitly asks for the EU one, an evaluation of the directive has shown.

READ ALSO: Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

This proposal is part of a package to “improve the EU’s overall attractiveness to foreign talent”, address skill shortages and facilitate integration in the EU labour market of people fleeing Ukraine. 

On 1 January 2021, 23.7 million non-EU nationals were residing in the EU, representing 5.3% of the total population. Between 2.25 to 3 million non-EU citizens move to the EU every year. More than 5 million people have left Ukraine for neighbouring states since the beginning of the war in February. 

Will these measures also apply to British citizens?

These measures also apply to British citizens, whether they moved to an EU country before or after Brexit. 

The European Commission has recently clarified that Britons living in the EU under the Withdrawal Agreement can apply for a long-term residence too.

As Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement have their residence rights secured only in the country where they lived before Brexit, the British in Europe coalition recommended those who need mobility rights to seek EU long-term residence status. 

These provisions do not apply in Denmark and Ireland, which opted out of the directive.

What happens next?

The Commission proposals will have to be discussed and agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council. This is made of national ministers, who decide by qualified majority. During the process, the proposals can be amended or even scrapped. 

In 2021, the European Parliament voted through a resolution saying that third-country nationals who are long-term residents in the EU should have the right to reside permanently in other EU countries, like EU citizens. The Parliament also called for the reduction of the residency requirement to acquire EU long-term residence from five to three years.

READ ALSO: COMPARE: Which EU countries grant citizenship to the most people?

EU governments will be harder to convince. However, presenting the package, Commission Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said proposals are likely to be supported because “they fit in a broader framework”, which represents the “construction” of the “EU migration policy”. 

National governments are also likely to agree because large and small employers face skill shortages, “especially in areas that are key to our competitiveness, like agri-food, digital, tourism, healthcare… we need people,” Schinas said.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.

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