Working and living in Norway

The new Immigration Act

Working and living in Norway

On the 1st January 2010, Norway introduced a new Immigration act which has changed the rules and ways in which you could apply for a work permit and residency permit.

Laws for immigrants and non-EU nationals were also enforced whilst children's rights strengthened and specific rules were applied to new EU members (e.g. Romania)


Before the new act, there was a separate work and residence permit in Norway. Today, both work permits and residence permits are called residence permits, and the term work permits is no longer used. Residence permits will primarily entitle holders the ability to work, although there may be restrictions on certain people or certain jobs.

The new act also contains an element called Early Work Start. This means it is now possible to start working in Norway before your application for a residence permit has been granted.

EEA nationals

EEA nationals (and any of their family, providing their family are also EEA nationals) will find it easier to register in Norway. The new Immigration Act has simplified the application procedure, and EEA members who procure employment in Norway no longer need go through the application process for a residence permit. Instead, they only need to register at the local police station and provide documented proof that they have a job in Norway.

You should bear in mind, however that there is an exemption for some new EU members if they look for employment in Norway for the first time. If this is the case, they must submit applications in the same manner before the new Act came into place. After this, they can then be granted a residence permit and only then are they covered by the transitional rules.

The new regulations for EEA nationals also grants residence rights to family members who are not members of an EEA/EFTA/EU country, and for employees who are also not members of these countries, but work for a company which is registered in these countries. If you fall into this category, you must apply for a residence card.

Children in Norway

The new act has strengthened children's rights in Norway and they are given more attention. Regarding immigration, children's rights have always been important in Norway. The new act ensures that children over the age of seven who can voice their own opinions are heard and are taken into account when deciding what is best for them (e.g. in special cases of immigration and asylum). There are also new rules that ensure the safety and well-being of any child is maintained during interviews.

Family immigration to Norway

Family immigration laws have been tightened under the new rules. There is now more criteria that families must meet in order to be granted an immigration permit. Families must prove they have sufficient funds in order to keep and look after their family in Norway, and also be able to prove they have been in at least four years of employment or full-time education prior to their arrival in Norway. They will also be refused an immigration permit if they have received benefits in the year prior to arriving in Norway.

Further reading

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