Norway jobs: a guide for expats

Gabriela Peratello
29.09.21
7 minute read

Frequently ranked as one of the best countries in the world to live and work, Norway offers stunning outdoor activities, advanced city living, a thriving cultural scene — and a work life balance that lets you enjoy all the country has to offer. With a range of English speaking jobs available in Norway, excellent infrastructure and healthcare, and a welcoming community, Norway is a popular destination for Americans moving abroad.

If you’re intrigued by what life might be like to live and work in Norway you’re in the right place. As well as looking at some great jobs in Norway for foreigners, we’ll touch on the practical matter of managing your money across currencies with the Wise Multi-currency Account.

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Getting a job in Norway

Getting a job before you head to Norway is usually required so you can get your residence permit all lined up before departure. You’ll need to think carefully about where in Norway you’d like to live, and research the opportunities, available salaries and top employers to get started. It’s also worth noting up front that many jobs in Norway are shared by word of mouth — which means that having local connections, and speaking the language will give you a headstart on the job hunt.

Here’s a rundown of some key information to help you figure out where your dream job in Norway may be.

How can foreigners find a job in Norway?

Getting a job in Norway won’t be much different from the process you’d use at home — tapping into your personal network is ideal, sending out speculative applications is possible, and starting with an employment website is pretty much essential. Here are a few smart recruitment sites to begin with:

  • Nav.no: one of the largest sites available for advice and job adverts — some content is in Norwegian only so use Google translate if you’re not confident in the language yet
  • The Local: specialist in English language jobs, searchable by sector
  • Career Jet: in Norwegian, but good place to upload your resume as well as search for live roles
  • LinkedIn: build your network and job hunt in Norway
  • Jobs in Oslo: recruitment site specifically offering Oslo jobs for English speakers
💡 Tips for applying for a job from overseas:
  • Learn more about the types of application processes and resume styles that local employers look for — localize your own resume for best effect
  • Learning Norwegian is a smart way to improve your employment chances
  • Find positions where your international experience is a selling point
  • Tailor your application and resume to every post to show you’re excited about the opportunity
  • Connect with local employers and other people working in your industry, either through your existing network, or a professional site, like LinkedIn

Major industries and skills in demand

Norway is famous as an oil and gas producer, and there are many jobs available in this sector for qualified and experienced individuals. However, as you’d expect of a developed country with an advanced economy, there are also positions in finance, tech, startups and more. Here are some key industries to look out for when you’re looking for jobs for foreigners in Norway:

  • Oil and gas
  • Tech and development
  • Finance
  • Natural resources: timber, mining and metals
  • Shipping and shipbuilding
  • Fisheries
  • Tourism and service industries

It’s worth mentioning that wherever there are large numbers of expats, there’s also a demand for support services which tend to offer jobs which suit other expats. That may be in international schools which teach the US curriculum, helping with relocation services for newcomers, real estate and so on. If you’re planning on living in Oslo or another big city, niche expat services could be an employment area worth exploring.

Leading employers for foreign workers in Norway

Norway has large numbers of smaller businesses which may not be the perfect fit for many expat new arrivals. However, there are also local and regional giants, particularly in finance, oil and gas — and a good presence of American and global companies in the big cities. Here are a few big employers to take a look at:

  • DNB: regional financial services giant
  • Equinor: formerly Statoil, with roles across energy, IT, development and more. Positions for new graduates as well as experienced professionals
  • Tesla: needs no introduction, technician and engineering roles may come with relocation support
  • IBM: roles from new graduate openings to those for experienced developers

Types of job available

The sort of role you can get will be dictated by your experience and career stage. Unemployment is low, but finding a position won’t necessarily be easy as you’ll be competing against a highly skilled local workforce. Here are some positions to consider looking for:

TypeDescription
Full time jobs
    Getting a full time position may be the ideal, as the cost of living in Norway is high. Available roles vary by location and sector, including:
    • Graduate positions with regional and global employers
    • Skilled professional roles which can not be locally filled
    • Occupations which fall into shortage areas
Summer jobs
    Seasonal jobs can be a good way to get a feel for Norway, learn the language and build a network. Consider these options:
    • Seasonal work in hospitality or tourism
    • Summer jobs in agriculture
    • Short term roles in factories, warehouses and retail
Teaching jobs
    If you’re a qualified teacher you may find options where you can put your skills and your English language abilities to good use:
    • Teach English at language schools
    • Look for international school positions, where training in the US or international baccalaureate syllabus may be an advantage
    • Public schools may take on native English speakers
Internships
    If you’re still studying or not long graduated, an internship may suit you. It’ll also give you a chance to build a local network. Try these angles:
    • Advertised internships with regional and global employers
    • Internships with local employers — details may be passed on by word of mouth
    • Intern with a startup — speculative applications may go a long way here
Volunteer work
    If you can support yourself while in Norway, volunteering may be a good option to build your resume and learn more about the longer term opportunities available:
    • Look for advertised volunteer or exchange programs which tend to come with support, but may charge participant fees
    • Find opportunities with regional or global charities working in Norway
    • Look at local opportunities based on your interests and where you expect to live

Shortage occupations

As an expat you’re more likely to find opportunities in shortage occupations, where local employees are few and far between. Shortage sectors do change over time, and tend to be similar to the positions which are in demand in other countries, such as:

  • Health and social care
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • IT, development and web services
  • Construction and forestry

Jobs for English speakers

Norwegian is the business language for most companies in Norway — so learning the language is a definite bonus if you can. However, jobs which you can do with English alone do exist — they’re just predominantly in the large cities, and in niche areas like education, hospitality and technology. Use some of the recruitment sites highlighted above which offer English speaking job ads, to get a feel for what’s available which may suit you.

Visa options for foreigners working in Norway

US citizens who want to work in Norway — or who plan to stay more than 90 days — need to apply for a residence permit first¹. Applications are processed in Norway by the UDI — the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration — although you still need to visit a visa application centre in the US to present your documents and application forms.

Application process

Here’s how to apply for a Norwegian residence permit:

  • Check the type of permit you need based on your employment type
  • Gather the documents required — more on this below
  • Register your permit application online and pay the fees
  • Hand in your documents at a VFS office local to you² — appointments may be required
  • You’ll be notified of the outcome of your application by email and letter once it has been processed

Necessary documentation

There are helpful documentation checklists by application type, over on the UDI website³. Check out the paperwork needed based on whether you’re applying for professional work, a seasonal job or other activities. To give an example, if you’re a professional and have already secured a job in Norway you must collect the following paperwork³:

  • Passport and a copy of your passport
  • Signed cover letter
  • Passport photos
  • Proof you have a residence lined up in Norway
  • Offer of employment form
  • Salary details to show you meet the minimum benchmarks
  • Evidence of your education or work experience
  • Your resume
  • A copy of the checklist — completed to show you’ve got all the documents needed

Language requirements for working in Norway

Before you get too far in your job search you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to learn Norwegian to maximize your possible employment chances. While some global businesses use English in the office, and there are jobs available where English native speakers are welcome, Norwegian is spoken in most local businesses, making it a distinct advantage if you learn.

Quick facts about living in Norway

trolltunga-norway

Average salary
  • Salaries vary widely between industry and location
  • Numbeo users report average salaries of 30,163.71 NOK/month after tax⁵, which is the equivalent of around 3,500 USD
Currency
  • Norwegian krone — NOK
Main religions
  • Christianity is the majority religion although citizens enjoy full religious freedom and there are also other faith communities, especially in the cities⁶
Government type
  • Parliamentary democracy
  • Constitutional monarchy
Usual work hours
  • 37.5 - 40 hours/week⁷
Holidays
  • 4 weeks + 1 day to 5 weeks of paid leave a year is normal
  • Workers aged over 60 get additional paid leave
  • 12 public holidays annually — only usually treated as paid leave if they fall on a normal working day
Income tax
  • 22% basic income tax + additional tax based on income level which can add up to 16% extra for the highest earners⁸

Moving to Norway: save on payments to and from NOK with Wise

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  • Hold up to 54 currencies
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  • Because all currency exchanges with Wise use the real mid-market exchange rate with no markup you can save 6x compared with international transactions through your regular bank.

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Finding an expat job in Norway may not be easy — but getting to live your international dream will make it all worthwhile. Use this guide to get started, and don’t forget to open your Wise Multi-currency Account to save on international transactions and have more left to spend on yourself.


Sources:

  1. Norway - Residency permit
  2. VFS Global - Visa
  3. UDI - Checklists for documents that need to be handed with the application
  4. UDI - Checklist for worker with an employer in Norway
  5. Numbeo - Cost of living in Norway
  6. Europa - Population, demographic situation, languages and religions
  7. NHO - Basic labour law
  8. PWC - Norway tax summaries

Sources checked on 09.28.2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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