Working in Norway For Members

How does it work if you are employed in Norway by a foreign company?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected] • 30 Mar, 2023 Updated Thu 30 Mar 2023 16:18 CEST
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Office buildings in Oslo. Photo: Manuel Keller/Unsplash

Whether you've just been posted to the Oslo office from abroad or you're already in Norway and have been headhunted by an international firm, working for a foreign company in Norway brings some bureaucratic complexities. Here's what you need to know.


According to Fabian Eikrem, a consultant at Expat Relocation in Oslo, the increased workload created for the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration by the UK leaving the European Union has led to longer waiting times for work permits for non-EEA nationals. 

"It's four months, going on five, now, and obviously it's a huge problem for companies if they have to wait that many months to get the permits," he told The Local. "The government is looking into how they can bring it down to a reasonable level, so in a few months, we think they will have reduced processing times." 

The salary requirements for a work permit in Norway are also considerably higher than for most other countries, with foreigners posted to the country usually required to receive the rate agreed with unions for that role. 


"Norway has a very high salary threshold," Eikrem said. "There are requirements in place to avoid 'social dumping' that the government applies strictly, so you have to make sure that you are paid above the rate agreed in the different collective agreements." 

Typically, the wage rates decided via collective bargaining agreements tend to be the minimum wage for a union member of a certain profession or role. For certain sectors there will not be a legal minimum wage, whereas there will be for others

It's also worth bearing in mind that, unlike most other countries, in Norway you cannot work remotely, from a hotel or from your home, unless you either have a residence permit for family immigration, permanent residency or a special residence permit "for work where remote work is part of your job". 

READ ALSO: Digital nomads: Who can work remotely in Norway?

How to get a work permit if you need one

If you do not already have the right to work in Norway and are intending to work in Norway for more than three months, you will need to apply for a work permit before you can start if you are from outside the EEA. 

The application can only be made when you have a full-time job offer. Contracts that offer 80-percent of a 37.5 working week are also accepted.

EEA nationals with the freedom of movement are required to register with the police in Norway as having moved to Norway for work. You can learn more about the rules that apply here.


For those who need a work permit, a lot depends on how you are going to be employed, as there are separate work permit application processes for foreigners working for the Norwegian branch of an international company (find form here) and for foreigners who are on assignment in Norway for an international company (find form here). 

In both cases, you can get either your company's local branch or its Norwegian customer to make the application for you, in which case you need to give them a power of attorney.

You will also need to be a skilled worker, holding a relevant degree, evidence you have completed a vocational training programme of at least three years, or "skills acquired through long professional experience" -- usually at least six years of experience -- and the pay and working conditions also need to be of the same level as is normal in Norway. 

You then need to pay the 6,300 kroner residence fee, and, if all goes well, you will then receive a two-year permit, which can be renewed a maximum of three times. 

If you are being employed and paid from overseas, you are only eligible for a residence permit if the company has a contract with a company in Norway to carry out an assignment in Norway. That company cannot be a recruitment or staffing agency. 


If your company does not have a Norwegian branch or a Norwegian main customer, your best bet is probably to apply for a visa as someone who is self-employed with a business in Norway. 

To do this, you need to be a skilled worker, holding a relevant degree, or evidence you have completed a vocational training programme of at least three years. You also need to show that the business is likely to generate pre-tax profits of at least 278,693 kroner per year. 

If you already have residency in Norway or are an EEA citizen

If you are already have residency in Norway, you can be employed by an overseas company once they have registered with the Norwegian Tax Administration. 

What about the tax? 

Everyone working in Norway has to be registered with the Norwegian Tax Administration and must also pay tax in Norway, no matter where their employer is based. This means having a tax card, which shows what tax rate and tax deductions you are eligible for. 

If you are a non-EU citizen, you cannot apply for a tax card until you have received a residence permit. Once you have received a Norwegian identification number from the tax administration, then either you or your employer must apply for a tax card. 


If you are applying yourself, you can do so online here, or by sending this form to the tax administration. 

If you are an EU or EEA citizen, you should book an appointment to have your ID checked and apply for a tax card as soon as you arrive in Norway. Once you've booked an appointment, you can either opt for your employer to apply for a card for you, or apply yourself using this form

Your employer needs to report your employment to the tax administration, giving them details of your assignment, before your card can be issued. 

The administration will then issue you a tax card, and if you don't have a Norwegian personal number, a D-number through which you will be identified in their systems. 


Your employer will also have to register you with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). 

If it's your first year living in Norway or you are on a relatively short contract, you will automatically be enrolled in the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme, in which tax is drawn from you salary every month.It is possible to opt out of this scheme, though, so long as you apply for a tax card and not your employer.



Richard Orange 2023/03/30 16:18

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