How Immigrants Can Find Work in Norway

Norway ranks among the top 5 European countries in terms of wages, with an average monthly income of NOK 54,000 (approximately 4,500 euros) as of the second quarter of 2023.

The high pay, along with a decent standard of living, a comfortable environment, and a mild climate, makes Norway an attractive destination for living and working, not only for citizens of European Union countries but also for migrants from third countries.

Highly qualified professionals from neighboring countries like Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, and others often come to work in Norway. They fill roles such as doctors, teachers, top managers, and IT specialists.

Work in Norway without knowing the language is often associated with fishing and production. Job opportunities range from working on crab and fishing vessels at sea to working in fish factories. Another sector with vacancies is employment on oil platforms. Standard positions are also available in warehouses and various factories as laborers, packers, and drivers.

In this article, we will discuss how to find and secure employment in Norway. We have previously covered How to open a bank account in Sweden.

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According to research from Schibsted, a leading Scandinavian media conglomerate, and FINN for the year 2023, unemployment in Norway is relatively low at 1.7%. However, competition for the best professionals in many sectors is intense, and companies strive to be attractive employers to interest qualified candidates.

Employees, in turn, are optimistic, as reported by Uwe Kristensen, research manager at Schibsted. People are not afraid of layoffs and are confident that finding new employment will not be difficult. Scandinavians value a comfortable work atmosphere, development opportunities, fair compensation, and good management.

The average annual salary in Norway in 2022 was 664,680 Norwegian kroner (56,871 euros). Including overtime pay, employees earned NOK 682,320 (58,389 euros) annually. Individuals with higher education (more than 4 years) earned NOK 856,920, and the peak income, depending on age, fell within the 50-54 age group, with NOK 742,320.

Salaries in Norway depend on numerous factors, including qualifications, experience, age, gender, industry, and more. While a foreigner without knowledge of the language may not be eligible for high pay, even wages for labor positions are relatively high (15-20 euros per hour).”

From 1990 to 2020, Norway saw immigration from 932,000 citizens of non-Scandinavian countries. Work was cited as the reason for 34% of them, with a total of 319,900 foreigners arriving for employment. The majority are citizens of EEA countries, with only 15% coming from third countries, totaling 48,300 individuals. Notably, 37% of all labor migrants have Polish origins.

As of 2021, the largest number of immigrants (around 88,000) were engaged in healthcare and social work, while over 49,000 found employment in internal trade, and 50,000 in construction.

Candidates from non-EU/EEA countries seeking employment in Norway for over 90 days must possess a residence permit for work (formerly known as a work permit). Applications are processed by the Norwegian Immigration Administration (UDI). It is recommended to visit the website for consultation on the complete set of documents required for obtaining a residence permit. The information provided in this article is for reference.

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit for work in Norway for Russians, Belarusians, and citizens of CIS countries is as follows:

1. Determine the type of document needed (for work). You must have a valid citizenship or residence permit from another country, with a duration of at least 6 months (Norwegians are keen on ensuring that foreigners have a place to go after completing employment).

2. Compile a document package from the checklist available on the Norwegian Immigration Administration’s website.

3. Register on the portal. If this is your first application, complete the user registration. After submitting the form and paying the fee, you will receive an email with a brief description of the application, a cover letter, and confirmation of fee payment. Print these documents and add them to the overall package.

4. Visit the VFS Global application center with the documents from the checklist. If additional information is required, they will contact you. No advance appointment is necessary.

5. Await the decision. The Norwegian Immigration Administration will notify you by email. If the response is positive, a visa stamp will be affixed to your passport, allowing you to travel to Norway. In case of refusal, a letter explaining the reasons will be sent. The decision can be appealed.

6. Upon crossing the Schengen Zone border, you must have a passport with a visa stamp (if required), a copy of the residence permit, and documents confirming the purpose of the trip.

Once in Norway, you must promptly contact the police. They will issue a plastic card with you photo, confirming your residence permit and allowing travel to other Schengen Zone countries.

The first step is to register as a job seeker with NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration). Employers will have access to your resume, and you will receive notifications for relevant job openings.

Where to Find Jobs in Norway: Websites and Vacancies

Most job listings are posted on websites such as:

  • Arbeidsplassen (NAV)
  • Finn.no
  • Jobbnorge
  • Webcruiter

Some job ads can also be found on the websites of local authorities. Simply search for the municipality name and job vacancies.

Major companies like IKEA often post job openings exclusively on their own portals. If you have a specific company in mind, check their website for the 'Careers' section.

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Other Methods

While online platforms are convenient for job hunting in Norway, they are not the only means of securing employment. Consider alternative approaches:

  • Reach out directly to companies you are interested in, even if the relevant vacancy is not listed on their website. Submit an open application with your resume.
  • Register with offline recruitment agencies. There’s a chance that employment opportunities will find you.
  • Attend career days at colleges and universities. These events provide opportunities to meet and network with company Participate in job fairs organized by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) and meet employers in person. These events are regularly held in different regions — check the schedule on the NAV website.
  • Keep an eye on local newspapers. While somewhat outdated, you may find interesting job offers close to home.
  • Utilize social media. Search for companies on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — an increasing number of employers use these platforms for recruitment. Invest time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile to function as your resume.

Not all the methods mentioned may be suitable for Russians, Belarusians, and other foreigners, as certain job listings may be communicated in person rather than online.

What to Do if You Lack Qualifications

There are three options:

  • Lower your expectations and apply for a position below your original target. This increases your chances of getting a job and gaining experience that will make you a stronger candidate in the future.
  • Accept temporary work (such as internships) or a probationary period. The opportunity to showcase your skills may lead to permanent employment. If you identify skill gaps, consider additional education opportunities.
  • Attend courses. NAV conducts educational courses in Norway’s districts. You can also approach universities or colleges, which offer free training where students gain experience and, at times, receive job offers.

Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Norway as seasonal workers if they intend to be employed in a position that is only available during specific times of the year or if they wish to replace a permanent employee on leave. The application to the Norwegian Immigration Authorities can only be submitted with a job offer.

Requirements for seasonal workers:

  • Age over 18.
  • Ability to return to their home country after completing work in Norway.
  • A specific job offer from one or more employers for FULL-TIME positions.
  • Salary and working conditions must align with the Norwegian average, ensuring the guaranteed minimum wage per hour.
  • Payment of the registration fee.

If you plan to stay in the country for less than 3 months, a residence permit may not be necessary. Consult with UDI regarding your specific case.

Seasonal work is quite common in Norway, with demand for assistance in various sectors ranging from construction to resort services in the mountains. Job opportunities can include positions like tailor, driver, shift work in Norway, or caring for the elderly.

Foreigners with at least a basic knowledge of English have a better chance of finding higher-paying jobs. However, work in Norway is possible even without proficiency in English or Norwegian.

Many foreigners working in Norway, benefiting from high earnings, support their relatives back home. However, they also seek money transfer services offering the most favorable conditions.

The KoronaPay mobile app allows users to send money from Norway to over 20 countries without a commission. Additional advantages include:

  • An easy-to-navigate app.
  • Simple transfer process.
  • Instant delivery.
  • Options for receiving funds on a card or at designated pick-up points.

The Korona app is available for download on AppStore and Google Play.

In our blog, we cover topics related to life and work in Europe. If you’re interested in this theme, explore our article catalog.