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Business Life in Norway

A career in Norway offers lots of business opportunities, particularly in the fields of oil and gas production. The competition from within the country is fierce, but our guide is full of useful advice for expats set on working in Norway. Read on for info on the job search, social security, and more.
The gas and oil industry is the strongest sector in Norway with lots of employment opportunities.

Finding a Job: Call a Friend

The job search is not always easy for those who wish to work abroad. However, the government is consistently trying to make it easier for expats to work and settle down in Norway. Although recruitment is slower than it was before the economic crisis, employment is on the rise. However, the main hurdle for the expat job search is that most work requires you to be fluent in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language. Without some proficiency in Norwegian, your options will be rather limited.

It is important that you learn the local language before your move to Norway or well at the beginning of your stay. You can do so at language schools in your home country or in Norway after your arrival. You may also want to use the first weeks of your stay to do casual work, learn Norwegian and build a business network.

Personal contacts and recommendations indeed play a vital role in the job search as many positions are not advertised. Instead, it is important that you get creative and contact companies directly or use your business network. You can also refer to, the largest Norwegian vacancy database for your job search. Or refer to EURES (European Employment Services),, Jobsin Norway and other job databases instead. You may also be able to find open positions in newspapers, such as Aftenposten.

Norway’s Big Companies

Major industries in Norway are the oil and gas industry as well as fishing and ship building. However, the ICT sector is the one with the biggest growth rate. Major companies in Norway are, for example, Statoil, Norsk Hydro, Orkla, Yara International or Esso. If your job search approach is to contact major companies directly, you can search the worldwide business directory Kompass, refer to the Norwegian Yellow Pages or contact the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in your home country.

Be Modest and Casual

When doing business in Norway, remember that egalitarianism is one of the cornerstones of Norwegian culture. Thus it is important that you don’t come off as overconfident or even arrogant. Try to remain modest and do not flaunt your wealth or financial status. Although doing business is a rather casual endeavor in Norway, you should still make sure to remain on a surname basis with your business partners.

At the same time, however, communication styles are quite easygoing and informal. This also applies to business meetings. It goes without saying, of course, that it is still important to remain professional, polite, and respectful. Norwegians are true straight-shooters who don’t beat around the bush during business negotiations. Don’t be put off by that!

Social Security in Norway

While working in Norway, you are usually covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme from your first day of work. That way, you are eligible to receive health services and contribute to Norway’s pension scheme. If you don’t want to contribute to the Norwegian Social Insurance Scheme, you need to provide proof that you have similar coverage in your home country.

Not all expats are covered, however, as different rules apply to EEA nationals, non-EEA nationals, and expats from countries with a bilateral social security agreement. EEA citizens are automatically members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, unless they have been posted from their home country as an employee. If that is the case, you are not entitled to NAV health benefits, but you can claim health services for your home country’s account.

Agreements about Social Security

Expats who are not citizens of the EEA but live in a country with a social security agreement with Norway should refer to the specific agreement. In general, you should be covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, but different rules may apply in some cases. If you have been posted abroad as an employee, you are usually exempted from the pensions section but are covered under the health services section. Non-EEA countries that have a reciprocal social security agreement with Norway include Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Israel, Serbia, Turkey, and the US.

Are you a national from a non-EEA country without a social security agreement? You are automatically covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. Your membership entitles you to claim health benefits and to contribute to the pensions account.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

David Hicks

"Thanks to my network on InterNations, I already had some contact persons to ask for support on coming to Oslo. "

Amelie Barreau

"Enjoying the great spirit of our InterNations’ Oslo Community for the last few months, I am absolutely convinced of the vision to bring people from different nations together."

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