31st May 2019
With its beautiful landscapes, museums, galleries, tourist attractions, and booming economy it is no surprise that Norway is the preferred option for many international contractors. However, most recently, demand for contractors in Norway has been surging, with our company data revealing a staggering 170% increase in freelance professionals working in the country between January and May of this year. This could potentially be explained by the fact that the Norwegian economy is currently flourishing, with growth outperforming estimates in the fourth quarter of 2018, the fastest pace in over four years. In addition to this, a 2018 government report estimated that the country could face a shortfall of more than 4,000 experts in the niche area of IT security by 2030 unless active measures are taken to reverse the shrinking talent pool. So, what do professionals need to know about contracting in Norway?
Demand for contractors in Norway: a top destination
Something that most of the international community appears to agree with is that Norway is a great place to work. According to the 2017 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, the country is the second top expat destination in the world, scoring highly in economic and political stability, well-paid and flexible employment, happiness, good welfare systems and quality of safety for families. It was also one of the top ten countries ranked for safety in a survey by the world’s largest network of expats, Inter Nations – and, if that isn’t enough to sway anyone looking at contracting in Norway, the country is one of the happiest places in the world – ranked 2nd on the 2018 World Happiness report.
Tax and compliance
However, the destination, much like the rest of the world, is getting tougher on tax and compliance. In fact, Norway is so transparent when it comes to tax, that people can actually search for the tax returns of any of their colleagues or neighbours. Once a year, Norwegian citizens’ annual tax returns are posted online – with newspapers leaping to produce top ten lists of the country’s highest earners, publishing the incomes and taxes paid by the political and cultural elites, celebrities and sportspeople.
However, while the demand for contractors in Norway may tempt many workers to make the move, there are a few legalities to be aware of. Nationals from outside the European Economic Area will need a visa before they can work in the country. For those needing this document, it is important to bear in mind that this usually takes around four to six weeks to obtain one, with legal costs associated with this as well.
Once beginning work, contractors will need to register with the relevant Norwegian authorities within three months. This will involve an online pre-application form followed by a visit to the local police station. Contractors will then be issued with a tax deduction card which outlines the required payments and Norwegian personal identification number, which is needed in order to live in the country.
There are also sector specific requirements that need to be adhered to. For example, every contractor working at a building or construction site – regardless of whether they are Norwegian or a foreign national – must have a Construction ID Card. This compulsory requirement is to identify who you are and who you work for.
Contractors need to be aware
The demand for contractors in Norway is likely to ensure it remains a destination of choice in the near future. However, compliance in the region can be complex, and given the growing global scrutiny on tax, partnering with a specialist international contractor management company is something that we strongly advise. The complexity of international tax laws shouldn’t be stop you from working abroad, and with expert help, you can rest easy that your affairs are being handled professionally, allowing you to focus on the job at hand. To guarantee tailored compliance solutions that keep you on the right side of the law, contact our team today: