26th June 2023
Contractors looking to work overseas can’t do much better than choosing Norway. The country offers good pay rates, amazing scenery and a beautiful blend of rural and urban living. But where do opportunities lie for contractors and what do professionals looking to work here need to be aware of in order to remain compliant with tax legislation?
The Norwegian economy is one of the strongest in Europe as a result of a number of factors, not least the strength of its Sovereign Wealth Fund which has over $1.19 trillion in assets and holds 1.4% of all of the world’s listed assets. It’s worth around $250,000 per Norwegian citizen and holds major portfolios formed of property and fixed-income assets. In addition to this fund, the Norwegian economy also benefits from the country’s geography and extensive coastlines and access to the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Arctic Sea.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the largest sectors in the Norwegian economy is oil and gas. Exports from this market contribute to around 20% of national GDP with approximately $100bn sold around the world every year. While oil reserves are beginning to fall, gas has yet to reach its peak, and firms in this space are likely to seek the skills of specialist contractors for some time yet. In addition, it was announced in June that the government is preparing plans to open an area nearly the size of Germany to deep-sea mining in order to extract battery metals from the sea floor. These minerals are used to develop the magnets in wind turbines as well as electric vehicles, however the global supply chain is largely dominated by China. While this proposal has yet to be approved, if it is given the green light, it’s highly likely that even more overseas professionals will be drawn to work here.
Domestically, Norway generates almost all of its electricity from hydropower and other green sources and it’s predicted that the country could produce 100% of its energy requirements through these channels by 2030, with a surplus in generation to allow for further exports. The renewable industry here is one of the most efficient anywhere on the globe and is home to a number of major businesses, each of which again rely on the skills of specialist contractors from other European nations.
While the country’s impressive energy production efforts are well known, most external commentators are less aware that the second largest industry in Norway is seafood and fishing. Thanks to its extensive coastline these sectors provide around 10% of the entire global market. While few contractors will likely be drawn to work for Norwegian shipping trawlers, firms here regularly source the skills of contractors to form their back-office teams, with demand likely to remain strong in the coming years.
Quality of life
In terms of standard of living, Norway is almost unsurpassed. The country regularly ranks near the top of quality-of-life indexes and while the high cost of living may put off some professionals, this is counterbalanced by many other factors. Professionals based in Norway benefit from an outstanding blend of urban and rural living and can also have the opportunity to experience the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun from here.
However, when it comes to remaining compliant with domestic legislation, things get slightly more challenging. Firstly, anyone whose home country is outside the European Economic Area will require a visa before they can operate here, which usually takes around 4-6 weeks to secure. They will also need to register with the relevant Norwegian authorities within three months of making the move here which will enable them to be issued with a tax deduction and outlining the required tax payments and a personal identification number – similar to a national insurance number – which are both needed to live and work here. Certain sectors also make other specific requirements. If you operate within the construction industry, for example, a Construction ID card is required, while other sectors also make other demands on professionals. Understanding and navigating the tax system and other regulatory requirements is no mean feat, particularly if you don’t speak Norwegian and if you’re in any doubt about your ability to operate here legally then it’s worth partnering with a specialist firm that understands the tax landscape.
To find out how to remain compliant when operating in countries around the world, and to catch up with some of the latest global legal and regulatory changes, take a look at our blog
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