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Work permits For Members

What we know about Oslo's plan to fast-track work permits

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
What we know about Oslo's plan to fast-track work permits
The primary objective of the Kompetansespor project is to streamline the immigration process for skilled workers. Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

An ambitious new pilot scheme aims to cut down work permit waiting times in Oslo. But how is it supposed to work, and what are its eligibility criteria? Questions abound.

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Norway, including its capital city, Oslo, is experiencing a growing shortage of skilled talent, particularly in the fields of technology and IT.

This talent gap has pushed many Norwegian companies to seek expertise beyond national borders.

READ MORE: How Oslo plans to cut work permit waiting times down to three days

In response, the City of Oslo has launched a pilot project named Kompetansespor (the competence track) with the aim to reduce the lengthy wait times for new foreign hires from around nine months to just three days.

The initial phase involves manually testing how to speed up the time it takes for new hires from outside the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be cleared for work.

How does the planned scheme work, and who is eligible?

During the phase, tests will be carried out to determine how a digital wallet can expedite the processing time for new hires from outside the EU/EEA.

Collaborating with partner organisations and agencies, the pilot is currently in its manual testing phase to ensure accuracy and quality before building the digital solution.

The authorities have not yet outlined the specific eligibility criteria and related details. However, the current focus is on new hires outside the EU/EEA.

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Key project goals

The primary objective of the Kompetansespor project is to streamline the immigration process for skilled workers and make their entry into the Norwegian workforce smoother, according to the webpage of the Oslo Business Region, the official business development agency of the Oslo Municipality.

With the current process taking 37 weeks, the project's vision is to reduce this period to just three days. By doing so, the initiative aims to achieve several significant outcomes:

1. Better predictability for companies: The accelerated process will give businesses a more predictable timeline for onboarding skilled workers, allowing for more efficient planning.

2. More efficient administration: The public sector will benefit from a more streamlined and efficient administrative process, eliminating unnecessary delays and reducing paperwork.

3. A more attractive destination for international talent: Norway's reputation as an attractive destination for international talent is expected to receive a boost, making the country even more appealing for skilled workers looking to contribute to its growing industries.

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Who's behind the scheme, and when will it be launched?

The new digital solution is a collaboration involving the city, Oslo Business Region, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, Bank ID, the University of Oslo, the police and the Norwegian Tax Administration, among others.

As of the time of writing, it isn't clear when the scheme will be ready for a full rollout.

The findings of the first phase of the pilot scheme will be unveiled between September 25th and September 29th during Oslo Innovation Week.

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Dedicated event planned for September 26th

From September 1st, it has been possible to apply for the September 26th event organised by Oslo Business Region, titled "From 9 months to 3 days! Oslo pilots fast track hiring of internationals", during which additional information on the project will be announced.

The event's program includes a dedicated segment featuring key discussions, such as the implications of the pilot for Oslo, presented by the Oslo Business Region. 

Rina Hansen, Oslo's Vice Mayor for Business Development, will comment on the significance of international talent attraction. 

Representatives of the City of Oslo will shed light on the pilot initiative itself, and a panel will delve into the inner workings of the process, technology, and scalability with representatives from the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI). 

Moreover, the event will include a conversation about a national vision on streamlining the immigration process for skilled workers and charting the path forward.

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