LIVING IN NORWAY

In terms of nominal GDP per capita in the ranking of Europe's richest countries, Norway ranks fourth. Higher only Luxembourg and Switzerland. This is a very beautiful northern country with a developed economy and large reserves of natural resources, including oil and gas. Living standards in Norway is one of the highest in the world, so wishing to immigrate to this country for temporary or permanent residence number in the tens of thousands. And many foreigners even dream of obtaining Norwegian citizenship.

The population of Norway is only 5.5 million people. Norwegians are proud of the achievements of its small Kingdom and very happy with life. This is partly confirmed by the fact that according to the official UN report of March 20 – World Happiness Report, which collected data on 156 countries in the world, Norway is one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world (in 2018 was the first line).

Let's talk about prices and costs of living, taxes, employment and wages, education, medicine, and the pros and cons of living in Norway in 2024.

Living in Norway

Pros and cons of living in Norway

Life in Norway for foreigners can go skiing at least 6 months a year, and daily enjoy one of the most beautiful countries in the world, which is located luxurious fjords, forests and lakes, as well as such a fascinating phenomenon as the Northern Lights. Of course, not everything in the Norwegian state is perfect. Let's highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Norway.

Pros of living in Norway

  • In Norway is quite a comfortable climate, good environment and a lot of beautiful places for recreation. By the way, a special law "allemannsrett" allows people to pitch a tent almost anywhere.

  • Strong economy and transparent laws allow to run efficient business in Norway. In the annual ranking of the agency Doing Business on the ease of opening and doing business out of 190 countries the Norwegian Kingdom takes 9 th place in the world and 2 th place in Europe.

  • English is widely spoken in Norway, but for full communication and rapid adaptation is necessary to learn Norwegian.

  • In contrast to other Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark and Finland, for free higher education in Norway can expect not only citizens of the European Union and EEA, but also students from all over the world.

  • The streets of Norway are very safe, there is an excellent infrastructure, quality medicine and an effective system of social welfare.

  • Norwegian salaries are among the highest in the world, and the labor market is characterized by a strong workforce and unconditional respect for workers' rights.

  • Prosperity and a high standard of living in Norway are supported not only by the oil and gas industry and fishing, but also many other sectors of the economy, including information technology, finance and innovation.

Pros and cons of living in Norway

Cons of living in Norway

  • Life in Norway is very expensive. For example, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living, which covers 133 major population centers on the planet, the Norwegian capital city of Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

  • With few exceptions, dual citizenship is forbidden in Norway.

  • In some localities, especially in the north of the country, it is very cold in winter. By the way, in Oslo the temperature rarely falls below 10 degrees Celsius. In addition, many foreigners are irritated by the high humidity, provoked by heavy rains. For example, in the city of Bergen.

  • Foreigners find it very difficult to find a job in Norway, or to create their own business.

  • Getting a driver's license in Norway is quite expensive. If you do not pass the exam at the first time, the process takes a lot of time and effort.

  • The locals are very conservative and closed people. Especially about those who do not know. High taxes.

Prices and cost of living in Norway

According to many reputable portals, including Numbeo, which compares current prices in different states of the planet, Norway is one of the five most expensive countries in the world. In most rankings, the Norwegian Kingdom is on a par with Switzerland, Iceland, Luxembourg and Denmark.

To rent a studio apartment in Norway in the central part of the city will cost about 10,000-11,000 kroner per month (900-990 euros), and in remote areas about 8,000 kroner (720 euros). The price of a square meter of real estate in the center is 68,460 kroner (6,210 euros), and in the countryside 47,790 kroner (4,335 euros).

Prices in Norway in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 32.89 kr

  • Milk (0.6 L) – 21.70 kr

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 40.45 kr

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 141.94 kr

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 22.17 kr

  • Norwegian cheese (1 kg) – 114.26 kr

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 23.60 kr

  • Apples (1 kg) – 31.58 kr

  • Petrol (1 liter) – 21.45 kr

  • Cab (1 km) – 16.68 kr

  • Public transport fare – 40 kr

  • Monthly bus pass – 800 kr

  • Utilities (85 square meters) – 2,216.19 kr per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 446.93 kr

  • Internet – 585.47 kr per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency – Norwegian kroner (kr). Exchange rate of one kr today is equal to 0.10 US dollar/euro.

Taxes in Norway

Taxes in Norway

Contrary to popular belief about the incredible taxes in Norway for the entire population, only the richest Norwegians are forced to transfer to the state budget to half their incomes. For ordinary citizens, there are quite moderate for the developed European countries rates. Tax revenue in Norway operates a public health system and free education.

Tax rates in Norway in 2024

Corporate tax – 22% (as of January 1, 2019).

VAT. General rate – 25%. Reduced rates are 15% (food and drink), 12% (cultural and sporting events, passenger transport, hotel accommodation, etc.), and 11.11% (supply of fresh fish).

Income tax:

Basic rate – 22%

Progressive rates (percentage of annual income):

  • Up to 208,051 kronor a year – 0

  • 208,051 kronor to 292,850 kronor a year – 1.7 %

  • 292,850 to 670,000 kronor a year – 4%

  • 670,000 to 937,900 kronor a year – 13.6%

  • 937,900 to 1,350,000 kronor a year – 16.6%

  • Over 1,350,000 kronor a year – 17.6%

National insurance premium:

Lower limit for premium payment – 54,650 kronor

Rates:

  • On earned income – 7.9%

  • Retirement income – 5.1%

  • From business income – 11.1%

Wealth tax. At the municipal level, income over 1,700,000 kronor a year is taxed at 0.7%, while at the state level income from 1,700,000 to 20,000,000 is taxed at 0.3% and over 20,000,000 kronor at 0.4%.

Taxes for people who are not permanently resident in Norway:

  • Foreign artists and athletes – 15%

  • Retirement tax – 15%

  • Dividend tax – 25%

Jobs and wages in Norway

Unemployment in Norway does not exceed 3-5%. Most local companies provide employees with ideal working conditions, but the competition for high-paying jobs in this country is enormous. Even in positions that do not require special qualifications, foreigners from quite stable European countries, such as Poland, are employed.

For legal employment in Norway applicants from third countries must first find a job and sign a contract, get a work permit, obtain a visa and a residence permit. The requirements are different for seasonal and permanent workers.

Most often migrant workers tend to work on oil platforms and fish factories or in agriculture. Sometimes there are jobs for programmers, construction workers, engineers, financiers, and bankers. It is best to look for work in Oslo and other major cities in Norway.

There is no minimum wage law in Norway, but for some sectors set fixed hourly rates. In any case, a qualified professional with a degree must have an annual pre-tax income of at least:

  1. Position requires a master's degree – 480,900 kroner (41,480 euros)

  2. Position requires a bachelor's degree – 448,900 kronur (38,720 euros)

According to official data from Statistics Norway, the average pre-tax salary in Norway in 2024 is NOK 56,360 per month, equivalent to €4,860.

Higher education in Norway

Higher education in Norway

As mentioned above, virtually all universities in Norway offer free education, including for foreigners. In addition, the Norwegian higher education system contains a large number of national programs on financial assistance, including scholarships and grants. For example, for Russians there is a special program Norwegian-Russian Scholarship.

In Norway there are 53 higher educational institutions with accreditation, including 8 public and 8 specialized high schools, 37 colleges and 2 art academies. The symbolic student fee is 30-60 euros per semester. There is an "admission list" (The GSU-list) for admission to the local university, i.e. basic education requirements and language skills – Norwegian/English.

Medicine in Norway

After receiving a residence permit in Norway (residence for 3-12 months or more), a foreigner is entitled to virtually free public health care. In general, all Norwegian citizens are covered by the National Insurance System, and private medical services are limited. The exception is dentistry. According to WHO and the authoritative London-based Legatum Institute, Norway ranks among the top ten countries with the best medicine in the world.

Health care costs in Norway per person are higher than in most other countries on the planet. The lion's share of Norwegian clinics is financed and owned by the state. Usually payment for each visit to the doctor is 141 kroner and is paid during the year until it reaches the mark of 2,185 kroner. After that, medical services are provided free of charge, including medication.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in Norway in 2024 is 82 years, with men living about 80 years and women 84. Besides the capital Oslo, the best cities to live in Norway are Tromsø, Bergen and Trondheim.

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