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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. 

Pictured is Oslo.
There a number of reasons your work permit application may be rejected. Pictured is Oslo. Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash.

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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For members

WORKING IN NORWAY

What you need to know about summer and seasonal jobs in Norway 

Norway's economy is doing well, unemployment is at record-low levels, and figures show the demand for seasonal workers is high. Here's what you need to know about summer and seasonal jobs.

What you need to know about summer and seasonal jobs in Norway 

Norway has made a strong recovery from the pandemic. The economy is strong, and unemployment is at an almost 14-year low. Companies are struggling to find labour, and competition for workers is fierce

With all the current buzz around labour shortages in Norway, it’s no wonder that the interest in job opportunities in the country is rising.

“The job market is really good now; the chances of getting a job – if you want to work – are excellent. Opportunities and the number of jobs tend to follow big cities – Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger. These are all cities where we’re looking for people,” head of information Sven Fossum at ManpowerGroup Norge, a leading workforce solutions company working in the country, told The Local.

Is there a difference between summer and seasonal jobs? 

Many may think that summer and seasonal jobs are interchangeable, but that’s not quite the case. A seasonal job in Norway is one that can only be done at a specific time of the year. For example, working a winter at a ski resort or a summer picking fruit are seasonal jobs. 

Whereas many companies in Norway offer contracts specifically for the summer to cover for holidaying staff or due to business being busier during the winter months. These aren’t seasonal jobs as they can mostly be done all year round. Summer jobs are available in a much wider variety of industries than seasonal ones too.

Although, there are some jobs that can only be done during the warmer months that may be classed as a summer job for example. Jobs like lifeguarding, working in hospitality at summer venues are examples of summer jobs that aren’t quite considered seasonal jobs.  

Another difference is that with a seasonal job you’ll mostly be competing with other foreigners to get a job, however you’ll typically be going head-to-head with more Norwegians for a summer job.  

Where is there a demand for workers to work in seasonal and summer jobs? 

There is a demand for people in several industries – call centres, logistics, sales, IT… Really, there’s a lot of possibilities,” Fossum noted, adding that there is demand year-round and that, at times, there’s no benefit to distinguishing between summer jobs and ordinary jobs.

“Our clients do have extra need for workers in the summer, but the jobs are the same all year round. Banks and call centers are typical examples of industries looking for workers at the moment.

“Many big companies need people to work in restaurants and hotels in Norway. Look at media reports; there’s a shortage of workers in these industries. These opportunities will also be here during the winter.”

When to start applying for summer jobs

When looking for a summer job in Norway, you should begin the search while it’s still winter. Large Norwegian corporates like Telenor and big banks like DNB like to start planning positions early, so recruitment for jobs begins early. According to Fossum, people should start looking for jobs in February. 

“You will be able to find jobs as early as February. When it comes to Manpower, you can register at our homepage and start looking for opportunities on our pages quite early,” the ManpowerGroup Norge recruitment expert stated.

What about the winter? 

Applications tend to open in September and will run through to the beginning of November for seasonal winter jobs in Norway. 

Outside of the cities and in smaller places, such as some of Norway’s most popular ski resorts, contacting the hotels, restaurants and resorts directly via phone or email to enquire about the possibility of applying for a job or any potential vacancies is one of the best bets for securing a job. September and October are usually the best times to start this process as businesses begin planning for the winter ahead.

READ MORE: How to find a winter sports job in Norway

You may need to be flexible when applying for summer jobs

Furthermore, Fossum believes people looking for jobs in Norway next summer should be flexible. 

“Be flexible when it comes to when you can and can’t work. Many jobs are getting more complex, and we need to invest in training for them. Some jobs have training periods early in the summer, at the end of May, or the beginning of June. It’s important that you as a worker can be present for the training. 

“I would also say that people who are able to work the whole summer will get ahead. If you don’t really have to, don’t ask for three weeks of vacation in the middle of summer. That’s a major part of the reason why there’s high labour demand in the summer – companies need people to cover for absent workers. If possible, try to plan a late vacation instead,” Fossum recommends.

Summer job advice for students

If you’re studying in Norway, a relevant summer job could be a precious addition to your CV later on.

“Every student in Norway stands to benefit from a relevant summer job on the side; having that in your CV means a lot later on. It shows you’re more than just a good student – you’re able to work and can be relied upon. So, if you’re studying in Norway, try and find a summer job,” Fossum concluded. 

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