Snapshot: Norway’s long-term business visas

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Long term transfers

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What are the main categories of work and establishment permits used by companies to transfer qualified personnel?

In Norway, the legal term “work permit” does not exist. The two main categories of residence permits for work purposes are:

  • seconded employment or service provider; and
  • local job

Both categories require a residence permit from the first day of work. Non-EU nationals without a visa can stay in Norway for up to 90 days without a residence permit, but they cannot work. Stays in other Schengen countries may affect the 90 day period.

Procedures

What are the steps to obtain these authorizations? At what stage can labor begin?

The process begins with completing an online application with the Directorate of Immigration (UDI), which is required for both categories. A UDI application fee is required at the time of online submission.

Thereafter, all required application documents must be submitted by the applicant, or alternatively by the employer or other representatives with power of attorney. Skilled workers in a seconded agreement must complete an assignment offer form and skilled workers in a local agreement must complete a job offer form. Diplomas, certificates and other personal documents are also required.

If all education, salary, work and personal requirements are met, the applicant will be granted a residence permit.

In order to carry out the residence permit, the applicant must meet in person with the immigration authorities to identify himself in person. As a general rule, the residence permit is only valid after this meeting. A residence card will arrive by post within 10 working days.

Period of stay

What are the general maximum (and minimum) lengths of stay granted in the main business transfer categories?

Seconded employees can benefit from a permit for a maximum of two years (or for a shorter period if the assignment contract indicates it). The maximum period during which the employee can hold this permit is six years. After that, they have to stay out of Norway for two years, before they can start a new six-year period.

Locally hired employees can get a permit for up to three years on first application. After three years, the applicant can apply for a permit renewal for two more years at a time (or apply for a permanent residence permit if eligible).

Delay of treatment

How long does it usually take to process the main categories?

The processing time for the two categories, seconded employment and local employment, varies and depends on the workload of the immigration authorities. Even if the processing time for files is inconsistent, the authorities aim to reduce the processing time to 30 days. In order to reduce processing time, applicants are recommended to submit their applications in Norway rather than at the embassy abroad. Incomplete applications, or those requiring additional research or a request for documentation from UDI, may take longer than the standard estimated processing times.

Employee benefits

Is it necessary to obtain advantages or facilities for staff to obtain a work permit?

In general, no benefits or facilities are required to obtain a residence permit for work purposes. However, advantages and facilities governed by a collective agreement may apply to certain positions.

Evaluation criteria

Do immigration authorities follow objective criteria or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?

Immigration authorities are required to follow objective criteria stipulated in immigration law and regulations. However, immigration authorities are allowed to apply subjective criteria for certain residence permits for work (such as in the situation where the applicant is likely to return to their country of origin after the end of their assignment in Norway ).

High net worth individuals and investors

Is there a special lane for high net worth individuals or investors?

There is no special route for high net worth individuals or investors as such. They can apply for authorization as an independent or as a researcher with their funds if they meet either of the two categories.

Is there a special route (including a fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residency clearance route in your jurisdiction?

There is no special route for wealthy people to obtain a residence permit in Norway.

Highly qualified people

Is there a special route for highly qualified people?

There is no special route for highly skilled people. Please note that skilled workers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree will have different salary requirements respectively.

Ancestry and descent

Is there a special itinerary for foreign nationals based on ancestry or ancestry?

No.

Minimum wage

Are there minimum wage requirements for the main categories of business transfers?

In Norway, there is no general rule regarding the minimum wage in labor or immigration laws. Minimum wage requirements are usually regulated in collective agreements between employers’ organizations and employees’ organizations. For this reason, the required minimum wage varies from industry to industry.

The UDI guidelines operate with three levels of salary requirements. The main rule is that the salary must be under the relevant collective agreement. If no collective agreement is applicable, the salary must correspond to the “normal” salary of the branch 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 (417,900 crowns for bachelor’s degree holders) and level 47 (449,900 crowns for master’s degree holders) from the main government salary scale. These levels are normally adjusted annually from May to June.

Not all types of remuneration are accepted as part of the minimum wage. As a general rule, the UDI only takes into account the basic cash salary. Benefits in kind are not accepted. In addition, cash benefits in the form of allowances, per diems, bonuses and overtime payments are not accepted when the UDI assesses whether the minimum wage requirement has been met.

Resident labor market test

Is there a quota system or resident labor market test?

For local hires, there is both a quota system and a resident labor market test. For postings and service providers, there is only the resident labor market test. To our knowledge, the quota system has never been an obstacle so far, nor has the resident labor market test. For foreign workers covered by international agreements and for seafarers working on ships flying a foreign flag, there is no resident labor market criterion.

Shortage occupations

Is there a special sector for shortage occupations?

No.

Other eligibility requirements

Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for a work permit in your jurisdiction?

For most types of work permits, you must be considered a “skilled worker”. Typically, skilled workers are people with a college degree or a specific occupation. People with no education or profession can apply for a work permit if they have “special qualifications”.

The candidate must be over 18 years old and be able to provide proof of a job offer or a guaranteed assignment. The job offered must comply with the rules stipulated in the labor law (for example, working hours and working environment).

For local hires, the main rule is that it must be a full-time job. Normally it is also required for local hires that the employee spends at least 50% of their time in Norway during the period of the permit.

Third party processors

What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work authorization?

The Norwegian immigration authorities do 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/company.

A self-employed person can obtain a residence permit (work permit) if he can document an economic basis for the business.

Recognition of foreign diplomas

Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration clearance?

The Norwegian immigration authorities will assess whether the formal qualifications of the employee are relevant for the position/assignment offered.

Also, in some professions, it will be necessary to obtain a license from the competent Norwegian authority.

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