If you’re looking to hire foreign workers in Norway, you are not alone.
According to Prague Process, Norway has emerged as a popular destination for immigration, with 15% of its population made up of foreign nationals.
Since 2020, the number of immigrants in Norway has increased more than two-fold. Most foreigners residing in Norway come from EU countries such as Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden, but also non-EU countries such as Somalia, India, and Pakistan.
As Norway’s population is aging, foreign employees are a valuable asset supporting the country’s growth and development.
However, if you’re just getting started with international recruiting, it can be challenging to understand what you need to do to comply with Norway’s immigration law.
Read on as we clear up some common questions regarding the employment of foreign workers in Norway and share what you need to do to start the hiring process.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Norway: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you run a company located in Norway and want to employ EU citizens, the process is quite straightforward.
This is because EU citizens have the right to enter the country and start working right away.
On the other hand, employing non-EU workers in Norway requires much careful consideration.
In most cases, individuals from non-EU countries must apply for a residence permit for work before coming to Norway.
Below are all the steps you must take to ensure you meet the requirements of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Step 1: Check if You Qualify for Hiring Foreign Workers in Norway
If you own a Norwegian company and want to hire non-EU workers from abroad, you must meet specific requirements.
These requirements include:
- The company must have a place of business in Norway
- The company must be registered in the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities under the Brønnøysund Register Centre
If you fulfill these criteria, you may move to the next step of the process of hiring foreign workers in Norway. To do so, you have to extend a job offer to the selected candidates.
Step 2: Sign an Offer of Employment
In order for a foreign national to be able to apply for a residence permit and legally work in Norway, they need a concrete offer of employment.
If you want to provide your future employee with a work offer, you must fill in UDI’s offer of employment form.
In the form, you need to provide the following information:
- Information about the employee (e.g., full name, date of birth, and nationality)
- Information about the employer (e.g., company name, organization number, and contact details)
- Employment relationship and duration (e.g., type of employment, duration of employment, and place of work)
- Information about the role (e.g., job title, main duties, and required qualifications)
- Information about the working conditions (e.g., compensation and number of working hours)
Both you and the candidate must sign the form before submitting it to UDI.
Step 3: Identify the Type of Residence Permit You Need to Apply for
Typically, non-EU nationals need to apply for a residence permit (previously called a work permit) before coming to Norway.
There are different types of residence permits available for foreign workers in Norway. This depends on the applicant’s nationality and the type of work they will be doing.
For most non-EU workers, the available residence permits are as follows:
- Skilled workers – This type of residence permit is for individuals who have completed higher education or vocational training. For example, these individuals may be carpenters, welders, health workers, athletes, or teachers.
- Seasonal workers – This is a residence permit available for individuals who will be working in Norway during a specific time of the year or temporarily filling in for a permanent employee during their leave.
- Exchange programs, culture, and organizational work – Candidates who qualify for this type of residence permit are those participating in a working holiday program or an agricultural guest worker program. This type of residence permit also applies to artists, musicians, performers, or individuals employed by a humanitarian, non-profit, or religious organization.
- Vocational training and research – This residence permit is for individuals who will be conducting research-related activities or participating in vocational training.
- Seafarers – Individuals who will be working on a Norwegian ship or a foreign ship on Norwegian waters can apply for this type of residence permit.
- Employees of foreign companies in another EU country – Individuals employed by foreign companies in another EU country can apply for this type of residence permit if they need to carry out an assignment on behalf of their company in Norway.
Step 4: Check if You Need to Conduct a Labor Market Test
Depending on the type of residence permit you need to apply for on behalf of your future employee, you may need to conduct a labor market test.
The purpose of a labor market test is to show evidence of the unavailability of workers from Norway or another EU country to fill the vacancy.
This will give you the green light to hire workers from outside the EU.
In most cases, employers interested in hiring foreign workers in Norway under a residence permit for seasonal work must conduct a labor market test.
This can be done by submitting a request to the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV).
However, if you plan on hiring migrant seasonal farm workers in the agriculture or forestry industry, the labor market test is not required.
Step 5: Complete the Application for a Residence Permit
The candidate has the option to personally submit their residence permit application through the UDI website.
However, if you are the employer, you can also apply for a residence permit on behalf of your future employee. To do so, they must grant you written power of attorney.
To complete the application, you must create an account with UDI so you can access the Application Portal.
The documents that must be submitted with the application depend on the candidate’s citizenship and the type of requested residence permit.
However, in most cases, the following documents are required:
- Power of attorney (if the employer is applying on behalf of the employee)
- Passport and copies of all pages in the passport
- Application form or signed signature form from the Application Portal
- One passport-size picture
- Proof of accommodation in Norway
- Fully completed and signed Offer of Employment for foreign workers in Norway (for more info, see “Step 2: Sign an Offer of Employment”)
- Evidence showing that the compensation meets the income requirements
- Education diplomas and academic qualifications
- Professional diplomas
- Residence permit valid for the country the candidate is applying from
Depending on the type of residence permit requested, you may need to submit additional documents.
Here are a few examples:
- For seasonal workers: Labor market test stating that the position cannot be filled by an EU worker
- For athletes and coaches: A statement from the candidate’s national federation in the Norwegian Confederation of Sports (NIF)
- For seamen: Information about the ship and the ports the ship operates in
However, do note that the applicant may need to submit other additional documents as required by their personal circumstances.
The fee for a residence permit for work is NOK 6,300 (around 550 EUR).
Step 6: Submit the Application for a Residence Permit
There are two ways to submit the application for a residence permit. This depends on who completed the form on the UDI website:
- If you as an employer have completed the application on behalf of the employee – In this case, you must submit it to the Norwegian Police or to the Service Center for Foreign Workers (SUA), depending on the district you are located in.
- If the worker has completed the application – In this case, they need to submit the application to the competent Norwegian Embassy, Consulate, or Visa Application Center.
Typically, the processing time for a residence permit for work is about 8 weeks.
Your employees can use the residence permit to enter Norway and start working immediately, without the need to apply for a separate entry visa.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Norway: Final Considerations
Even though Norway has become a popular destination for migrant workers, the lack of qualified labor is still a major problem in the country.
According to a NAV (Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration) survey cited by the European Commission, there is a shortage of approximately 70,000 workers in the Norwegian labor market.
Furthermore, the survey identifies healthcare, engineering, and manufacturing industries as those experiencing the most significant demand for new hires.
Consequently, lots of Norwegian companies are turning to international recruitment to solve their labor shortages.
While the process of hiring migrant workers may seem daunting at first, it can benefit local companies in many ways by enabling them to access a broader range of skills and foster productivity.
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