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Work permits in Norway for skilled workers

How employers apply for a skilled worker's permit

Foreign nationals intending to work in Norway may need to apply for a residence and work permit. Typically, non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must secure a permit to reside and work legally in Norway. Engaging in unauthorized work in Norway can lead to consequences such as expulsion, future entry prohibition, and registration in the Schengen Information System. How to do this? Read further to learn more. 

Residence permit for skilled workers

A residence permit for skilled workers allows individuals to stay and work in Norway. Applications for this permit must be submitted to The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. It is crucial for applicants to be aware that entering and/or working in Norway without this permit may be considered illegal until the permit is granted.

The processing times for this resident permit may vary, so we recommend applying for the residence permit early.

This residence/work permit is applicable to both self-employed individuals and employees. The subsequent sections outline the requirements to qualify for a skilled worker’s permit.

Contact Magnus Legal for business legal expertise

Requirements an employee must meet to qualify for a skilled worker’s permit

Several requirements must be met to qualify for a skilled worker’s permit. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration evaluates applications based on these requirements, and failure to meet them may result in rejection of the application.

Requirement 1: Payment of application fee

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration charges a processing fee for certain applications, including residence permits for skilled workers. The one-time fee for this permit is approximately NOK 6300. This fee is payable at the time of registration of the application, but payment does not guarantee approval. Therefore, filing the application accurately the first time is essential to avoid additional expenses.

Requirement 2: Worker must be “skilled”

A skilled worker’s permit necessitates that the applicant possesses relevant skills. This typically includes completing education or holding a degree from a university or university college, such as a bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, a vocational training program of at least three years at the upper secondary school level may suffice if there is a corresponding program in Norway.

Special qualifications gained through extensive work experience can also qualify an applicant as "skilled." However, the applicant must substantiate these qualifications, and strict criteria are applied by Norwegian immigration authorities.

Requirement 3: Qualifying Job Offer in Norway

The applicant must receive a concrete job offer from a specific employer in Norway. The job should be full-time, though an 80 percent position may be accepted. The job must align with the applicant's skills and expertise, and the compensation and working conditions must meet or exceed Norwegian standards.

Additionally, the pay and working conditions must not be inferior to the prevailing norms in Norway. If the work will be performed in an industry in which a collective agreement applies, then the applicant must be paid the collective wage rate. In the absence of a collective agreement, the compensation cannot be lower than the standard for someone holding the same occupation and working in the same location as the applicant.

For positions requiring a master's degree, the general minimum salary is NOK 480,900 per year pre-tax, while for a bachelor's degree, it is NOK 448,900 per year pre-tax. A lower salary may be permitted if the applicant can prove that a lower salary is normal for the occupation at the place where the work will be carried out.

Requirement 4: Any special requirements must be met  

In some occupations, additional special requirements must be met. In occupations where qualification requirements are set out in law or in regulations, approval or authorisation must be obtained from the relevant professional authority prior to applying for a permit in Norway.

For example, an electrician must obtain approval/recognition from The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB), and a dentist requires approval/recognition from The Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Also read: Employee rights in Norway

Filing an application properly

Applying for a skilled worker’s permit can be a complex task. Applicants must demonstrate that all requirements are met, register the application electronically, and then submit documents at a service desk or embassy. All necessary documents must be presented correctly to avoid rejection of the application. To mitigate risks, applicants may authorize a person, such as a lawyer, to assist in collecting and submitting relevant documents.

Also read: ID control for foreign employees in Norway

Rights and restrictions after the application has been granted

Approved typically valid for 1-3 years and are generally renewable. Reapplication for renewal should be submitted at least one month before the expiry of the current permit. Following three consecutive valid years of holding a skilled worker permit, the applicant is eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit in Norway.

In general, the applicant's family members may accompany them to Norway and reside there. However, they must first file an application for family immigration before relocating to Norway.

Applicants seeking to change their employer generally do not require a new permit to do so. However, if the applicant intends to change their position, a new permit may be required prior to assuming the new role.

In the event of job loss, the applicant must notify the police within seven days. Under normal circumstances, the applicant is permitted to remain in Norway for up to six months to seek new employment.

Also read: PAYE tax scheme in Norway


  • Foreigners who want to work in Norway should check whether a residence / work permit is required prior to entering Norway.
  • A skilled worker’s permit may be relevant for non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.
  • To qualify for a skilled worker’s permit, an application fee must be paid, the worker must be “skilled”, and a qualifying job offer in Norway is required. Special requirements may apply in some cases.
  • Applying for a skilled worker’s permit involves extensive paperwork, and careful attention to detail is crucial. Consider authorizing a person, such as a lawyer, for assistance.

Contact Magnus Legal for business legal expertise

For more information about how we can assist you, please see our website: Work in Norway

Article first published June 2019, udated January 2024. 

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