For members


Everything you need to know if you lose your job in Norway 

You never know what's around the corner, and life is full of curveballs. If you suddenly find yourself out of work, there are a few things you will need to know. 

Pictured is a person with a briefcase.
Here's what you need to know about losing a job in Norway. Pictured is a person with a briefcase.Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Losing a job is never pleasant, especially if it feels like it came out of the blue or was unexpected. However, being out of a job as a foreign resident can be even more stressful as, in addition to worrying about short-term cash flow, there are other important things that are affected by losing your job, such as your residency rights and where to get support. 

Therefore it’s handy to know some of the basics in the event the worst happens. These are some things you should consider should you find yourself out of a job. 

What are your rights? 

First up, knowing your rights will help you determine whether your employer has wrongfully dismissed you. If you are fired, your employer must put into writing a legitimate and factual reason for your dismissal. 

You will then work through a notice period unless you are fired for a serious breach of your contract- then, your employment will end immediately. You can also be laid off if your employer is going through financially challenging times. This means your duty to work will cease. You will need to be notified first and may be entitled to unemployment benefits from NAV. 

While the terms may be used interchangeably, being laid off or made redundant is different from being fired.  

You can read more about being fired or laid off on the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s website.

If you are a union member, you could ask for help from your union in determining whether you’ve been wrongfully dismissed. However, you can’t join a union for help after being dismissed. Non-union members may need to go down the tribunal route if they feel they have been wrongfully sacked. 

How will it affect your residency? 

Many come to Norway and either register as working in the country under regulations for EEA citizens or with a work permit with a Norwegian employer. 

Figuring out how being unemployed will affect your rights to live and remain in Norway is hugely important. Work permit holders must notify the local police in their area within seven days. The UDI has a wizard that will help you find the necessary contact information in your area. You can find it here.

From there, you will have up to six months to look for a new job in Norway, provided your residence permit is still valid throughout the six months. 

If you have a valid residence permit as a skilled worker with an employer in Norway, you do not need to report to the UDI or the police if you are fully or partially laid off. However, you may need to apply for a new work permit when you find a new job. 

The UDI does not revoke the residence permit based on layoffs, and you can stay in Norway as long as your residence permit is valid.

READ MORE: What happens to work permit holders in Norway if they lose their job?

Those from the EEA can continue living in Norway as long as they like if they have been working in the country for over a year. If you’ve worked in Norway for less than a year, you will have six months to find a new job

 Financial help and welfare 

Presuming you are a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, which generally means living in Norway legally and paying tax, you may be eligible for welfare or unemployment benefits from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). 

You will need to register as a job seeker in addition to applying for unemployment benefits. Alternatively, you may be entitled to wages that your employer still needs to pay if the company has gone bankrupt. You can read more about the process of applying for unemployment benefits (in Norwegian) here

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For members


EXPLAINED: How to boost your career chances in Norway

High wages and an excellent work-life balance attract many to Norway for a job. Once you've settled into your new role, you'll want to keep your career moving forwards.

EXPLAINED: How to boost your career chances in Norway

Upgrade your language skills

Plenty of jobs and careers can be done in Norway without strong Norwegian language skills.

However, to advance your career, including with firms where the working language is English, you will want to invest in learning the language.

Generally, the B1 and B2 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference should be enough to help you navigate working life in Norway. However, taking things to the next level and moving up to the C level could boost your job prospects. A C-level certificate helps demonstrate your Norwegian language proficiency and that you have invested in Norwegian.

The better your language skills, the more options you will have open to you. Not just this, conversing with Norwegian colleagues in their native language will also help you gel with your team more, which will prove beneficial if you wish to progress your career within one company.

Get to grips with Norwegian working culture

Like most other countries, Norway has a hierarchical structure in workplaces. However, great emphasis is placed on the belief that all employees can express their opinion on the best way to tackle the task at hand. Transparency and honesty are valued.

Workers in Norway are also expected to be able to take the initiative and work independently when required. This means many should be confident in making their voice heard constructively and getting to work rather than waiting for direct instructions or orders.

Due to the more laidback and informal office culture, workers are expected to, to varying degrees, socialise outside of work, either in the form of after-work drinks or team-building activities.

While every office or department has its own politics, coworkers should be seen much more as collaborators than competitors.

Building a rapport with your colleagues will ultimately play into your hands if you wish to progress your career. Furthermore, while the dress code is more informal than in other places, punctuality is seen as a form of respect – so you mustn’t take a relaxed attitude to turning up for meetings on time.

Make sure your CV is suitable for Norwegian recruiters

Ensuring your CV is adapted for Norwegian recruiters will also help you make that leg-up.

Consider a design with not too much information squeezed in. Key qualifications are a management summary of your skills, experience, qualifications and soft (or interpersonal) skills. Some information, such as hobbies and interests, helps the recruiter relate to the person behind the CV.

One thing to consider is that unless applying for a job in a competitive environment, you should make achievements and accomplishments less about yourself and more about the team you were a part of.

Additionally, when it comes to a CV, you should only submit one in Norwegian if you are confident and comfortable enough writing one in Norwegian. If you have someone translate your English CV into Norwegian but aren’t comfortable with the language, employers may feel you are trying to deceive them.

READ ALSO: The dos and don’ts of writing a killer CV to impress Norwegian recruiters


Having a robust professional network can bolster your career opportunities. LinkedIn is a very big deal in Norway, so it’s worth ensuring your profile is fully up to date and you create or share the odd post to highlight to recruiters doing some background that you are invested in your career and networking.

There are also typically a decent amount of industry or networking events held in person. Staying on your colleague’s good side will also pay off when it comes to networking. Personal recommendations from recruiters can go a long way. Therefore an ex-work friend putting in a word with your prospective employer because you left them with a good impression can help you get a boost in your career.

Getting your qualifications officially recognised in Norway

There are around 160 or so regulated professions in Norway, which means you will need some qualifications, training or education to qualify for the role.
If you have obtained qualifications abroad, you must have these officially verified and recognised by the relevant Norwegian authority to perform certain roles.

There are multiple agencies responsible for checking and verifying whether qualifications and training obtained outside of Norway are of the required standard.

For example, healthcare workers must assess their written and verbal Norwegian language proficiency and may be sent on additional courses to learn about the country’s health system. Applicants must cover the cost of additional language training.

Getting your qualifications verified confirms to Norwegian employers that your training equates to the corresponding Norwegian qualification.