What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?
In Norway, the legal term ‘work permit’ does not exist. There is only a residence permit, but the residence permit includes the right to work. The two main categories are:
- seconded employment/service providers; and
- local employment.
Both categories require a residence permit from the first day of work. Non-EU visa-free nationals can stay in Norway for up to 90 days without a residence permit, but they cannot work. Stays in other Schengen countries might affect the 90-day period.Procedures
What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?
The process starts by completing an online application to the UDI. This is required for both categories. An application fee to the UDI is required at the time of online submission.
Thereafter the applicant needs to book an appointment with the UDI in order to submit all required application documents in person or by the employer or other representative with power of attorney. Skilled workers on seconded agreements need to complete an offer of assignment form and skilled workers on local agreements need to complete an offer of employment form. In addition, diplomas, certificates and other personal documents are required.
If all educational, salary, work and personal requirements are met, the applicant will receive a granted permit letter.
The applicant now needs to book a new appointment with the UDI in Norway to identify him or herself in person with his or her passport and to complete a biometric print for a residence card.
Applicants from countries that require an entry visa (D-visa) to travel to Norway must visit their closest embassy or consulate in order to obtain their entry visa before travelling to Norway. When they arrive in Norway, they must complete the ID check and order their residence card with the UDI within seven days.
It is crucial for all non-EU nationals to book an appointment with the UDI as soon as possible after arriving in Norway, in order to be able to work as soon as possible after arrival. Work cannot legally be performed before this ID check is done.
The residence permit cards - allowing the applicant to stay and work - will arrive in the post within 10 working days of meeting the UDI.Period of stay
What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?
Seconded employees may be granted a permit for up to two years at a time (or a shorter period if the assignment contract indicates so), with a maximum of six years. This implies that they may apply for a renewal of their permit after the first period until they reach the six-year limit. After that, they must stay outside Norway for a period of two years, before they can commence a new six-year period.
Locally hired employees are, in essence, on permanent contracts. However, the UDI regulates their stay by granting them temporary permits to stay and work for up to maximum of three years at a time. After three years, applicants may apply for a renewal of permit for another three years, or they may apply for a permanent residence permit.Processing time
How long does it typically take to process the main categories?
The processing time for both categories, seconded and local employment, is estimated to be two to three weeks from the time a complete application is submitted if the application is submitted to a service centre for foreign workers in Norway, and four to five weeks if the application is submitted to the Norwegian embassy or consulate in the country where the applicant resides. Applications that are incomplete, or require additional research or a request for documentation from the UDI, may take longer than the standard estimated processing times.Staff benefits
Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?
The applicant needs to have a work contract that meets the salary, educational and other terms of employment set by Norwegian collective agreements and industry standards for that specific occupation. The employee also needs to document that he or she has accommodation in Norway or that the employer will arrange accommodation.Assessment criteria
Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?
The UDI follows objective criteria stipulated in immigration law. Certain applications that are not of a standard format may require additional research and documentation in order for the UDI to reach a decision. In such cases, subjective criteria may need to be considered in order to reach a decision.High net worth individuals and investors
Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?
There is no special route for high net worth individuals or investors as such. They may apply for a permit as a self-employed individual, or as a researcher with own funds if they qualify in either of the two categories.
Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?
There is no special route for high net worth individuals for a residence permission into Norway (see question 16).Highly skilled individuals
Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?
There is no special route for highly skilled individuals. They must apply as a skilled worker either in the seconded or local category. Skilled workers with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree will respectively have different salary requirements.Ancestry and descent
Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?
Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?
In Norway, there is no general rule regarding minimum salary in the labour or immigration laws. Minimum salary requirements are generally regulated in collective agreements between employer organisations and employee organisations. For this reason, the minimum salary requirement will vary from industry to industry.
The UDI guidelines operate with three levels of salary requirements. The main rule is that the salary must be in accordance with the relevant collective agreement. If no collective agreement is applicable the salary must be in line with the ‘normal’ salary for the industry and place of work. If no normal salary can be documented and the person concerned has a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the salary must be at least level 42 (397,100 kroner for persons holding a bachelor’s degree, at 1 May 2019) and level 47 (428,200 kroner for persons holding a master’s degree, at 1 May 2019) of the government main pay scale. These levels are adjusted every year on 1 May.
Not all kinds of remuneration are accepted as part of the minimum salary. As a rule, the UDI considers only the base cash salary. Benefits in kind are not accepted. Also, cash benefits in the form of allowances, per diems, bonuses and overtime payment are not accepted when the UDI evaluates whether the minimum salary requirement has been met.Resident labour market test
Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?
For local hires, there is both a quota system and a resident labour market test. For secondments and service providers, there is only the resident labour market test. To our knowledge, the quota system has, up to now, never been a hindrance. Neither has the resident labour market test. For foreign workers covered by international agreements and for seamen working on foreign-registered ships, there is no resident labour market test.Shortage occupations
Is there a special route for shortage occupations?
No.Other eligibility requirements
Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?
For most types of work permits, one needs to be considered a ‘skilled worker’. Skilled workers are typically persons with an academic degree or a specific profession. Persons without an education or profession can qualify for a work permit if they have ‘special qualifications’. A special qualification case is quite difficult to argue.
An applicant must be over the age of 18 and be able to document that he or she has a concrete job or assignment offer. The job offered must be in accordance with rules stipulated in the Labour Act (working hours, working environment, etc).
For local hires, the main rule is that it should be a full-time job. As a main rule, it is also a requirement for both local hires and secondments that the employee spends at least 50 per cent of his or her time in Norway during the permit period. Exemptions can be made, mainly for secondments.Third-party contractors
What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?
The UDI does not accept chain contracts. The employee concerned must be hired either directly by the Norwegian company or by a foreign employer who has a contract with a Norwegian client.
A self-employed person can get a residence (work permit) if he or she can document an economic basis for the business.Recognition of foreign qualifications
Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?
It is sufficient for a person to document an academic degree.
A person who does not have an academic degree must apply under the ‘special qualifications’ category. The immigration authorities will evaluate if the experience that the person has is equivalent to a similar kind of education in Norway. In addition, in some professions, it will be necessary to obtain authorisation from the competent Norwegian authority.