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Salary increase averts hotel staff strikes in Norway

There will not be any strikes from hotel staff in Norway, after an agreement was reached on Sunday to increase salaries and improve conditions for employees in hotels, restaurants and catering.

A bar worker
Illustration photo of a bar worker. Photo: Tangerine Chan, Unsplash

After hours of negotiation, an agreement was made between the United Federation of Trade Unions (Fellesforbundet) and the Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv) on salaries and conditions for employees in hotels, restaurants and catering. 

A total of 1,250 hotel, restaurant and catering employees would have gone on strike from Sunday if the parties had not reached an agreement. 

The minimum wage in the industry was 175.47 kr per hour if you are over 20 years old, according to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority. (arbeidstilsynet). This has now increased to an extra 4.47 kr to 9.51 kr per hour, depending on how long you have worked in the industry and whether you work shifts.

For employees who have from 4 years experience and work 35.5 hours a week, this means a wage supplement of 9.51kr per hour, Fellesforbundet writes.

“Real wage growth for our members was absolutely crucial. Food, electricity and interest are becoming more expensive, and wages must keep pace,” chief negotiator Clas Delp said.

Changes have also been agreed on gender equality, workwear, staff training, and working conditions.

“Both hotels and restaurants must be serious and good workplaces, where people stay. We are now raising the level in the industry for everyone, as well as securing greater incentives for those who have worked longer”,  Delp said.

“People should be rewarded for staying in the job. It is the experienced in the industry who ensure competence and training for the many thousands recruited in the years to come,” Delp added.

Magne Kristensen, chief negotiator and director of working life policy at NHO Reiseliv, called it a “very demanding mediation”.

“It was an expensive settlement. Employers have gone to great lengths to find a solution and avoid strikes. We are nevertheless satisfied with avoiding conflict, as many tourism companies are still in a difficult financial situation after two years of pandemic”, he said.

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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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