Norway

Introduction

Norway is in Northern Europe and borders Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Russia.  It is a Kingdom and has been continually in existence for over a thousand years.

Norway has an extensive coastline and therefore has a long maritime culture.  It is a relatively peaceful country and did not participate in World War I, however despite efforts to also remain neutral in World War II the invasion and occupation by Germany changed that. 

Norway has close ties with both Europe and the United States and is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, the Nordic Council, the WTO, the OECD as well as being a part of the Schengen area.

Norway has extensive natural supplies of Petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood and fresh water and is the world’s largest producer of natural gas outside of the Middle East and therefore enjoys a stable economy and ranks very high in all the various economical listings.

It has a democratic outlook and has consistently ranked in first place in the Human Development Index as well as holding first positions in Inequality Adjusted Ranking, World Happiness Report, OECD Better Life Index, Index of Public Integrity and the Democracy Index.  It also has one of the lowest crimes rates in the world.

Therefore if you are looking to freelance abroad in order to find somewhere peaceful with good living standards you could not pick a better choice than Norway.  If you would like to hear more regarding the realities of relocating to Norway to work and the possible solutions that we can provide to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Registry/Registration

If you are not from the EU/EEA then you do need a residence permit in order to live and work in Norway and you normally require a job offer first.  If you are from the EU/EEA then you can come to Norway and stay for up to six months whilst looking for work, although you should register with police less than three months of your arrival.

Norway is a small country with a small population and therefore moving there to work is not as easy as many other counties in Europe and is certainly easier if you are highly skilled especially in an area which is considered a skills shortage.  So the skilled worker visa is most common and you will need to show that you have the right experience, training or qualifications as well as usually show a job offer which meets the minimum wage requirement.  It should be noted that these are applicable for only two years and thereafter you will need to live outside of Norway for another two years before you can reapply.  You can bring you family with you on these visa’s, but you need to show that you are able to support them and this obviously depends on factors such as how many dependants you have.

You will also require sufficient funds as it is not cheap to live there and when looking for accommodation due to shortages it is commonplace to ask for three month’s rent as a security deposit.

After living and working in Norway for five years you can apply for permanent residence. 

Income Tax

If you wish to be a freelancer or self-employed in Norway as opposed to an employee then normally the best course of action is to set up a sole proprietorship which must be registered for tax and submit returns.  For self-employed you will need to pay advanced tax and so it is liable as soon as the income occurs and is due in four instalments in March, May, September and November.  Late payment or failure to pay can result in the entire remaining advance tax being due immediately. 

Income tax in Norway is separated into two categories and you pay both, these can differ slightly depending on you location, but for the most part are currently as follows:-

Income Tax:-

Standard 22%

Step-tax:-

Up to 180,000             0%

180,000–254,500        1.9%

254,500–639,750        4.2%

639,750-999,500         13.2%

999,500+                     16.2%

 

Social Security

As a freelancer or contractor you are not considered an employee and so with regards to social security you are not necessarily paid sick pay by your employer and can only claim from the state after the sixteenth day of sick leave.  Nor are you entitled to holiday pay unless previously agreed.  With regards to injuries and pensions you are also not covered and therefore should consider insurance or paying voluntarily into a pension fund.

You do still however have to make a national insurance contributions of between 8.2% and 11.4% of your pay depending on how you are classed.  If you are from another Nordic country and are covered by their national insurance scheme then depending on having the correct paperwork you will not have to make contributions in Norway.

Employment Rules

When you receive an assignment as a freelancer it is essential that the person you are working for registers this with the Norwegian Tax Administration even if you are not classed as an employee.  This is important in case of any claims, for them to make decisions on items such as sickness benefits and also for its statistical value.

Norway also has some specific rules that you must be aware of that are not necessarily familiar to you, for instance with regards to bookkeeping records all invoices must be auto-numbered, they do not accept if just drafted in word.

The work culture in Norway is one of its major attractions.  It is much more relaxed than most countries.  Emphasis is on the mental wellbeing of all residents in Norway and it usually affords much more time off when compared to other nations.  For this reason and due to the general pleasant un-confrontational nature of the Norwegians themselves disputes in the work environment are rare.

Banks

The Norwegian Krone is one of the world’s most stable currencies.  For expats moving to Norway you will require a national identity number in order to open a bank account.  Then it is usually a matter of visiting the branch with your passport and a passport photo, although some banks may also ask for proof of address and/or a recommendation letter additionally.  In Norway there is normally a queue system by number and so you should get your number once you enter the branch. 

Norway is a technologically advanced nation and it operates mostly without cash these days and the majority of transactions are carried out by debit card and so it is important to apply for one while opening your bank account.  You can only get a credit card after living and working in Norway for at least a year, although they do accept major cards from other countries.  Online and mobile banking are also predominant and you will most likely not need to visit the branch once the account is open.  Therefore the biggest barrier to banking is likely to be language with regards to certain apps that can be used and so this should be taken into account when choosing a bank.

Corporate Structures

If you wish to contract in Norway we offer both self-employed services and employed payroll services.  Norway is an unusual place for paperwork and it is important to have professional advice with regards to this and taxes to ensure that everything is compliant.  We can assist in all aspects be it invoicing, accountancy or setting up an individual company.  For any further information regarding the intricacies of freelancing in Norway please do not hesitate to contact us.

Chesterfield and Contracting in Norway

Chesterfield has years of experience not only in Norway, but also with a variety of different jurisdictions.  We understand the intricacies of both the specific national and provincial laws and regulations.  We can assist to help alleviate the concerns when dealing with a different system to ensure that all obligations are complied with.  Norway is a popular jurisdiction for quality of life and happiness and that can only be achieved if a person is satisfied that all their affairs are in order so please do allow us to help you achieve your dreams.  For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.