Brexit and Corporate impact

From 1 January 2021, Norway's relationship with the UK is no longer regulated by the EEA Agreement. This can affect the management of Norwegian companies if the management and/or board members live in the UK or are UK citizens.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement with the UK are ongoing. Depending on the results of these negotiations, the Government will consider implementing amendments to the legal acts within corporate law.

Also see: Brexit – Seconded employees

Current legislation

Under the current Norwegian legislation, the CEO and at least half of the directors of limited companies, public limited companies and cooperatives must either be resident in Norway or be both nationals of and residents of an EEA state. The same requirements also apply to members of the corporate assembly (industrial democracy). For foundations, the requirements apply to board members. From 1 January 2021, persons with ties to the UK will no longer meet these requirements.

Also read: Brexit and British citizen’s in Norway

Proposed changes

Depending on the results of the ongoing negotiations, the Norwegian Government considers implementing changes to the Corporations Act, the Public Limited Companies Act, the Cooperative Act and the Foundation Act which will equal the UK residents with EEA residents.

  • The proposed changes to the Corporations Act will ensure that persons with ties to the UK are exempted from the requirement for the general manager and board members to be residents of the EEA. 
  • The proposed changes to the Public Limited Liability Companies Act will ensure that persons with ties to the UK fall under the above exemption, and that the general manager, the board members and the corporate assembly (industrial democracy) are not required to be EEA residents.
  • The proposed changes to the Cooperative Act will ensure that general managers and board members with ties to the UK fall under the same exemption rule.
  • The proposed changes to the Foundation Act are corresponding with the amendments to the Corporations Act, Public Limited Companies Act and the Co-operation Act.

Situation after 1.1.2021

When entering 2021 there are still no results of the negotiations between Norway and the UK. As a result of this, the proposed changes in the Cooperative Act are not in force and Norwegian companies that do not fulfill the requirements in the current law must act.

What should you do now?

Review your company structure and determine the nationality and residence of

  • Board members
  • Owner(s)
  • management

If your company is no longer compliant with the requirements for residence and citizenship you can apply for a dispensation to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Feel free to contact us at any time if you need assistance with the above application, or advice and counselling related to Brexit.

We will keep you updated on the results of the negotiations and the amendments to the legal acts.

Read more: Brexit and GDPR

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Also see: Brexit overview

Article first published 13 November 2020. Updated 13 January 2020.