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

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How many people move to Norway for work, and where do they come from?
Figures have revealed how many people have been granted residence permits for work. Pictured is Bergen harbour. Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash "

Many are attracted to the prospect of working in Norway for a variety of reasons. Statistics from the UDI have revealed how many people were granted work permits in 2021 or registered as working in the country.   


Figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) released this week have revealed how many people were either granted worker's residence permits or registered with authorities as having moved to Norway for work.

Residence permits for work are generally issued to workers from countries outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), while those coming to Norway for employment from within the EEA are required to register with the police as living in Norway.

Last year 24,507 EEA nationals registered with the police, and of those, 14,429 were classed as moving for work.

Polish nationals made up over one-third of EEA nationals who moved to Norway for work, with just over 5,000 registering with the police in 2021. The next largest group to register for work in Norway were Lithuanian nationals, with over 2,000 registrations.

Romanians were the third largest group of people to register for work, followed by nationals from Spain, Latvia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and France. Bulgarian citizens made up the tenth-largest group to register as working in Norway.

When it came to work permits, the UDI issued 7,348 residence cards to workers in 2021. However, the statistics didn’t clarify whether these were people applying for a permit for the first time or those reapplying for residence.


READ MORE: How to get a work permit in Norway

Skilled worker permits were the residence applications the UDI granted the most in 2021, with 4,145 of these permits being issued. 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. 

2021 marked the first year that British nationals who weren’t legal residents of Norway before the end of 2020 would need to be granted a residence permit under the same rules as a non-EEA national to move to Norway. This is reflected in the fact that British nationals made up the largest group of third country nationals to be granted work permits, with over 1,321 residence applications approved by the UDI.

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

Of the more than 1,300 Brits to be granted a work permit, 456 were for skilled workers, 83 were for seasonal workers, and 782 were for other reasons.

Indian citizens made up the next largest group of third country nationals to be granted residence for work, with 1,112 work permits issued. Of these, 762 were for skilled workers, 349 were granted for other reasons, and just one was given for seasonal work.

Citizens from Ukraine, the USA and the Philippines were the third, fourth and fifth largest groups to be granted work permits. US citizens came third when it came to the largest group to be given residence as a skilled worker, with 296 of the 435 work permits granted by the UDI to Americans being for skilled workers.


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