What happens to work permit holders in Norway if they lose their job?
Many who move to Norway do so on a work permit, so what happens if you find yourself out of a job?
In order to work in Norway, you need to have a residence permit. Furthermore, people coming to the country for work, generally speaking, have already found a job.
As the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) points out on its website, the type of residence permit you need to apply for varies based on your qualification and the type of work you will be doing in the country.
The different types of residence permits include permits for skilled workers, self-employed persons, or employees in NGOs – to mention just a few.
If your permit application is granted, your work permit will allow you to stay in Norway for as long as it remains valid. But what happens if you lose your job?
What to do if you lose your job
There are strict rules in place that dictate what you need to do if you lose your job while on a work permit in Norway.
The first step is to notify the police in your area within seven days. The UDI has a wizard that will help you find the necessary contact information in your area. You can find it here.
After that, you can stay in Norway for up to six months to look for a new job. Note that your residence permit must still be valid for the duration of this period.
The next step is important. If you succeed in getting a new job but are going to work in the same type of position as before, you do not need to apply for a new residence permit.
Still, you need to notify the police in your area within seven days after you start working at the new job.
If, on the other hand, you get a new job in a different type of position than before, you will need to apply for a new residence permit.
Note that you cannot start working in a different type of position until you have been given a new residence permit.
What to do if you have been laid off on a skilled worker permit?
If you have been laid off by a Norwegian employer and you're a holder of a skilled worker residency permit, there are several things you need to know.
If you have a valid residence permit as a skilled worker with an employer in Norway, you do not need to report to the UDI or the police if you are fully or partially laid off.
The UDI does not revoke the residence permit based on layoffs, and you can stay in Norway as long as your residence permit is valid.
Can you get a permanent residence permit later on if you have been laid off?
As the UDI points out on its website, if you have been laid off as of November 1st, 2020, you will no longer meet your permit's requirements as a skilled employee.
One of the conditions for obtaining a permanent residence permit is that you have had continuous residence in Norway for the past three years – and held permits that form the basis for permanent residence.
That means you if you have been laid off, you may no longer meet the requirements for permanent residence.
For example, if you are a skilled worker, you must have had a job and income throughout the required period.
However, as stated beforehand, even if you are laid off, you can still stay in Norway as long as your permit is valid.
You can find out more about the conditions for getting a permanent residence permit here.
If you have questions about the specifics that apply to your individual case, make sure to reach out to the UDI directly.
Application deadlines and permit expiration
Always make sure to respect the application deadlines for permit renewal.
Remember that you are not automatically entitled to continue working in Norway while waiting for the UDI to process your application.
As the UDI notes, if you apply for a permit at the last minute, you might face difficulties in getting your permanent residence permit down the road.
Also, if you find yourself abroad when your residence permit expires, you might not be allowed back into Norway.
If you completely lose track of time and apply after your permit has already expired, you risk staying in Norway illegally or being registered as "moved from Norway" in the National Registry.
In the latter case, you might encounter problems accessing public services in Norway, such as healthcare and education.
You'll also be more likely to face difficulties when applying for a permanent residence permit later in time.