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Work permits For Members

Can you start your job in Norway before your work permit is granted? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Can you start your job in Norway before your work permit is granted? 
Will you be able to start your job before you receive a decision on your work permit? Pictured is the Barcode business district in Oslo. Photo by Carlo Alberto Burato on Unsplash

To be eligible for a work permit in Norway, you will need a solid full-time job offer, among other things, on the table. Can you start your new role and hit the ground running while your application is processed? 

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The wages, work-life balance and office culture, are the key calling cards of working in Norway. Unless you are from the EEA or qualify for a family immigration residence, you will likely need a work permit to move to Norway for your career

Before you start, you will need a solid job offer of either full-time or 80 percent of full-time work. This is in addition to your qualifications being relevant for the job and the pay and working conditions being in line with industry standards. 

Putting in the work permit application after being offered the job can feel like you are stuck in limbo, waiting to start your new role, as work permit applications can take months to process. 

If you want to get an early start and dive into your role and are wondering whether you can start while you wait for your application to go through, you will need to be aware that, typically, this isn’t allowed

“Normally, work immigrants from countries outside the EU/EEA cannot start working until they have been granted a residence permit,” the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) writes on its website

However, there is an exception to this rule. Employees and workers can obtain permission from the police force, where they hand in the application documents for the applicant to start their job before they receive a decision on their work permit. 

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Permission for an early employment start is issued by the police rather than the UDI. When the employer or applicant hands in their documents to the police, they will need to ask for an early employment start. 

If the company is handling the application on the employee’s behalf, it will also need to submit a written power of attorney from the prospective worker

Once the request has been lodged, the police can confirm whether the employee may start work early and work for the employer until their residence application has been decided. During this period, the worker cannot change employer or clients. 

Should the employee require a visa to enter Norway, they can get this by heading to their nearest embassy and handing the early start confirmation to embassy officials. 

The application for early employment can only be made before the police send the work permit application for the police for processing. After the documents have been forwarded, it will not be possible to get permission to start the job before the permit is granted. 

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Those with other residence applications lodged will need to wait until they receive a decision on their case before they can work (if their permit allows them to work). 

What else to be mindful of

In some rare cases, you can receive an early employment start confirmation but have your work permit rejected. 

This will be because the authorities will determine whether you meet all the criteria when your case is processed. Therefore, you can have your work permit denied because you don’t have the relevant qualifications for the role (for example)

You will be required to leave Norway and likely lose your job when this happens. 

Furthermore, being permitted to work doesn’t mean that you can start work immediately. You will also be required to have a Norwegian identification number. Some employers will also require a Norwegian bank account for the salary to be paid into. Setting these up may take some weeks.  

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