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WORKING IN NORWAY

The potential issues workers in Norway should know about taking their home office abroad

The rise of working from home has meant many have chosen to take their Norwegian job abroad. However, experts have warned that workers should know about several potential consequences.

The potential issues workers in Norway should know about taking their home office abroad
Double taxation and dropping out of the National Insurance Scheme are some of the consequences facing workers in Norway who chose to take their home office abroad. Pictured is a digital work meeting. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic meant many in Norway have been ordered to work from home multiple times during the last two years.

Many have opted to use this flexible working solution to up sticks and live in another country or visit home for an extended period and take their work with them.

However, tax authorities and auditing firms in Norway have said that those who have chosen to take their jobs with them abroad are now facing some consequences as a result.

“We didn’t receive that many enquiries before Covid-19, but now we have seen very many cases regarding taxes and people taking home offices abroad. What we are seeing now is that many will not have considered the consequences of this,” Oddgier Wilik, a tax adviser at Deloitte Law Firm, told public broadcaster NRK.

Among the complications that have resulted from working for a Norwegian employer but in another country are tax issues.

“You can’t just bring a PC and go (wherever you want). This needs to be planned, and things need to be done in the right order. Otherwise, it can have major financial consequences, both for the employee and employer. Moreover, it is always expensive to fix afterwards,” Wik added.

Norway’s tax administration, Skatteetaten, has said that it has received an increase in questions regarding working remotely from another country.

One of the significant consequences some face is the possibility of having to pay taxes in two countries. 

Furthermore, even though Norway has a tax agreement with several countries, meaning those who pay tax in two countries can get some of the excess taxation refunded, the process of getting a rebate can take a long time.

In addition, you also face dropping out of the National Insurance Scheme, which has knock-on effects for pensions, insurance and sick pay, among other things.

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

There is a possibility of staying within the National Insurance Scheme while working abroad, however, you will need to apply with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) to do so.

Despite the complications and potential pitfalls, Wik believes the trend of remote workers in Norway taking their home officers abroad is likely to continue.

“Employers who want to keep skilled workers will go a long way (to do so) if the employee wants to work for a period with a home office while abroad. But, they will (the employee) still face a dilemma when they have to decide on the consequences working from abroad can entail,” Wik explained.

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WORK PERMITS

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

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