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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

What changes about life in Norway in January 2022? 

In January, several everyday products will become more expensive, the rules for when you can start contributing to your pension will change, and Norway's Covid-19 rules are set to be reassessed.

Pictured is mountain ranges in Ålesund.
Here's what changes about life in Norway. Pictured is a mountain range in Norway. Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

Covid-19 restrictions could be changed

Norway’s current Covid-19 rules, which include a ban on the sale of alcohol in Norway, will be in place until January 14th. The measures were brought in during December due to rising infections and the spread of the Omicron variant.

The government has said that it would be willing to retain or tighten the measures if the situation requires.

READ MORE: What are Norway’s Covid rules this New Year’s Eve?

New self-isolation rules for teachers

Exemptions to coronavirus self-isolation rules will apply to employees in schools and kindergartens in Norway from the new year.

The rule exempts teachers and kindergarten staff from isolating when identified as a close contact of somebody who tests positive for Covid-19, but only when at work. Outside of work, they must still isolate.

Being exempt from quarantine during work hours is typically referred to as “leisure quarantine”.

Typically, close contacts are in full quarantine for three days before taking a test and are in leisure quarantine until day seven.

Change to the pension rules

Everyone over 18 will begin contributing to their pension from the first krone they earn as part of the compulsory occupational pension scheme from January 1st.

Previously, contributions were only required for earnings of 106,000 kroner and above. According to the government, the new rule will allow one million more Norwegians and 160,000 young people to contribute to the occupational pension.

READ MORE: Can you claim your Norwegian pension from another country?

Petrol to cost more

The cost of fuel will go up considerably due to hiked taxes on petrol and diesel. Petrol tax is set to rise to 1.60 kroner per litre, and diesel tax will increase to 1.87 kroner per litre. This will be effective from January 1st.

Childcare to become cheaper

The maximum price parents can be charged for a kindergarten place will be reduced from 3,315 kroner per month to 3,050 kroner per month. This will take effect from the new year.

All first-grade children will also have access to a half-day place at an after-school activity.

READ ALSO: Everything parents in Norway need to know about barnehage

Kids go back to school

On Monday, January 3rd schools in Norway will reopen their doors to pupils. The term will last until the winter holidays, or vinterferie, which will be between the end of February and early March depending on which part of the country you are in. 

Upper secondary schools will reopen at red level and primary schools, secondary schools and kindergartens will reopen at yellow level.

Government to pick up half the electricity bill during the winter

The government will cover 55 percent of the bill on energy prices above a monthly average of 70 øre per kilowatt-hour. The deduction will appear on your bill and will be calculated automatically.

January will mark the first month that the deduction appears on household’s bills. 

The scheme will apply from December until March 2022. The deductions will appear on the bill for December, which will arrive in the new year.

Duty-free rules change

The duty-free quota rules will be changed from January 1st, meaning it will no longer be possible to replace the tobacco quota with 1.5 litres of wine or beer. This will come as something of a blow to those who don’t smoke but like to grab a discount at duty-free.

Tax on the highest earners will increase

The tax on the highest incomes will be increased. Norway’s bracket tax, an incremental tax paid based on your earnings and paid alongside the flat rate, will be raised for higher earners.

In general, income tax will become higher for those who earn more than 643,800 kroner a year and the entry points for steps three and four for the incremental tax will be lowered. In addition, a fifth step for the highest earners, who make more than 2 million kroner, will be introduced.

Those earning less than 750,000 kroner a year will pay less in taxes. Overall, the government says that around 82 percent of taxpayers will pay less or the same amount of tax.

READ MORE: What changes about tax in Norway in 2022?

Tobacco will become more expensive 

The tobacco tax will increase by five percent above the regular price adjustment. For example, the tax on a pack of twenty cigarettes will increase to 59 kroner. For snus, the tax increases from 85 kroner per 100 grams to 90 kroner per 100 grams

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

Everything that changes about life in Norway in July 2022

Free ferries, a potential pilot strike, more expensive food and a change in the voting rules are among the biggest changes happening in Norway during July.

Everything that changes about life in Norway in July 2022

Potential pilot strike

This one isn’t fully set in stone but could spell travel chaos if it goes ahead. Up to 900 pilots from SAS could be taken out on strike from July 2nd if an agreement isn’t reached between the airline and pilots’ representatives. 

After weeks of intensive negotiations over a new agreement between SAS leadership and 1,000 of the airline’s pilots, both sides were willing to continue discussions, pushing back the original deadline. 

Pilots are unhappy that SAS is hiring new pilots on cheaper contracts in their two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect. If the two parties cannot agree, up to 30,000 SAS passengers could be affected per day, the airline said on June 27th.

You can check the likelihood of your flight being affected here

Food prices are likely to go up

July will also see the cost of grocery shopping in Norway go up significantly. This is because the price farmers will be able to charge for milk, grain, potatoes, vegetables and fruit in Norway will rise. 

Food prices in Norway are adjusted twice a year by supermarkets. The next change is set to happen in July, with prices expected to go up due to increasing costs from suppliers and producers. 

Ferries to become free

Ferry connections with less than 100,000 annual passengers will be completely free from the beginning of July. 

The government pledged to make all ferry connections with less than 100,000 passengers free of charge when it was formed last October to try and make transport easier for rural and coastal communities and boost tourism. 

Free tickets will apply to both residents, tourists and commercial passengers. 

READ MORE: Norwegian islands lose quarter of voters as foreigners frozen out of local elections

Fellesferie begins

Fellesferie is the collective leave period or general staff holiday period that many Norwegian companies have adopted, which takes place during July. 

The origins of fellesferie date back to the interwar years, when employers and employees in the Norwegian metal smelting industry agreed on a collective holiday period of three weeks. 

If you’ve not experienced the holiday period in Norway yet, it’ll feel like everything is coming to a grinding halt.

Many companies will shut down entirely or operate vastly reduced opening hours. As a result, big cities such as Oslo can feel practically deserted as everyone flocks to the beaches, fjords and mountains – often staying in their country retreats or hyttes If they aren’t travelling abroad.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Norway’s collective holiday period

Air passenger tax returns

Air travel will become slightly more expensive at the beginning of July as the passenger tax for travellers will be reintroduced. 

The low rate of 80 kroner per passenger will be applied to journeys where the final destination is within Europe. 

Those travelling outside of Europe will have to pay a tax of 214 kroner. 

Rates apply to Europe as a whole, rather than the EU, so passengers heading to the UK will pay the lower rate. 

A new grid rent model implemented 

The beginning of July also sees a new grid rent system introduced. 

Grid rent is the charge consumers pay for receiving electricity into their homes. Under the current model, grid rent is typically anywhere between 20 to 50 øre per kilowatt-hour. Those in rural areas usually pay more, while those in cities pay less.

The new model will have a lower fixed proportion of the fee with a higher part of the charge linked to total consumption, meaning homes that use more power will pay higher grid rent, while those that consume less will have lower bills. 

READ MORE: What Norway’s new grid rent model means for you

A transition period of two years will be introduced, and the new consumption charge will only be allowed to account for 50 percent of grid companies’ revenues. The energy ministry will then assess the new model at the end of the transition period. 

Svalbard residents lose their voting rights

The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is to lose over a quarter of its voting base for local elections under new rules preventing foreign nationals from participating.

Under new rules, non-Norwegian citizens will be required to have lived in a Norwegian municipality for three years in order to be eligible to vote in local elections and run for office on the remote Arctic archipelago.

Over 700 of the 2,500 people who live on Svalbard could be affected by the decision, broadcaster NRK reports.

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