Friday, August 19, 2011

So, why don't I just get a job?

Perhaps you've been wondering this. . . "why not just get a job, Emily? Any job? Work in a coffee house, a knitting shop, etc. You'd get out of the house, earn some money, practice your Norwegian."

It's not that easy, and it again has to do with that damn European Union thing again.

If I were a resident of the EU, I would have the right to move anywhere within the EU and get a job. (Side note: Norway is not a member of the EU, but they participate essentially in all but the name). As an American, I need to be a skilled laborer and have a job offer before I can get a work permit. I am living in Norway on a resident visa, and since Erik is also an American (and not a native Norwegian), he is here with a work visa. He could only get his work visa after he had the job offer from his employer. As Americans, we were not allowed to move to Norway to look for work; we could only come here after the work visa (and subsequent family resident visa) had been approved. 

Since it doesn't take particularly great skills to work in a coffee or knitting shop, my interpretation of the laws has me believe that it would be difficult for me to get a work permit to work in a non-skilled area, such as retail. That is the main reason that I have been holding out for a nursing--or more specifically--a midwife job. There is both the demand for midwives here, and I have the skills--the two things required to get a work visa. 

If anyone out there has had experience in how to get around this rule, or little nuances in the law that I am unaware of, I'd be very interested in your experiences! 


  1. Hi Emily!
    Read the last few posts and am so sorry I have not posted more. I so enjoy reading your blog, (the good and the bad) for so many reasons - you're a good writer, the fact that you do post about good/bad/difficult, native MNsotan (we are too), we're thinking of doing a similar move, lots of other reasons. Been in a similar situation as you, and it really can be isolating even at the same time that it's thrilling. We obviously don't know eachother, but from reading your blog, you all sound like such delightful folks and like the kind of people we'd enjoy in person. We have a tentative plan to visit friends in Oslo either Feb or April of next year and maybe we can meet then. In the meantime, I will try to post more and/or email, cuz feedback is fun!

  2. I have no idea of the rules for part-time private work, but what about one-on-one sort of things like tutoring, doula, etc.?

    When a good friend of mine was pregnant while living in Amsterdam, she hired a woman who was bilingual and trained as a nurse to come to all her pregnancy appointments as a back-up in case there was something she didn't understand or something she couldn't communicate herself.

  3. I married someone from that country, but that obviously wouldn't work for you. I had the same problem in England. Before Colin and I got married, I got a job in London. I left the country while they processed the visa request. It was denied because they didn't advertise in a national paper. Silly because specialized positions are usually advertised in trade publications. Ironically, I ended up working for a consultancy where they were one of our clients and they ended up hiring an Australian.

    You could open a Dobra Tea in Lillehammer and have knitting night. :)

  4. Emily, I married an American who got a job in Norway and we moved here on his work visa, BUT my residency permit for family reunification (called "Oppholdstillatelse" -- the one with the photo that they glue into the passport) stated that I had a "Generell arbeidstillatelse", which meant I could look for any job anywhere, as any other Norwegian. Check your passport because you should also have this unless the rules have changed. You have not moved here to look for work, you have moved here b/c of your husband (family reunification). The larger problem for me has been my skills in Norwegian -- i.e. why hire me when they can hire someone who actually speaks the language fluently! So I've done lots of odd jobs that require English skills.

  5. @Suzy: Thanks for reading! It's always fun to get the "random" reader, and you are definitely my target audience: someone who is considering a crazy move such as this who can learn from our mistakes! Let me know if you're coming our way in Feb/April.

    @Jena: Just checked my passport, and it says "Oppholdstillatelse", which I think is just "residence"? but Erik's says the same, and he definitely has a arbeidstillatelse. We're going to check with the UDI folk.

  6. Hi again, Emily - yes, do check! Because the visa in my passport says "Oppholdstillatelse" in big letters at the top, next line in small letters is name, next line in small letters is date good til, next line is where it was issued (Hordaland for me) and the next line says "type tillatelse" (what type of permit) and there it says General work permit. And I know I didn't have to apply for this separately - it just came with my application for residency / family re-unification. I'll cross my fingers for you! Here's my email if you have other questions:

    Good luck!