Smart City Update from Oslo: Reducing Wait Time for Foreign Workers With a New Digital Solution

The City of Oslo has taken initiative to significantly cut the waiting time for international workers who wish to work in Norway. Currently, it takes an average of 37 weeks from a non-EU employee signing an employment contract until everything is in place for them in Norway.

The goal is now to reduce this time to just three days with the help of a new digital solution. This measure comes in response to feedback from the business community that the current process is "remarkably outdated" and cumbersome, with many challenges for both employers and the international workers themselves.

Rina Mariann Hansen, City Councillor for Business and Ownership in the City of Oslo, has led the work on this digital solution. She points out to the website that the current system requires employers to navigate through a labyrinth of bureaucracy, which creates unnecessary delays and frustration. 

"We've missed out on many skilled international employees because the process is so demanding," says the Oslo City Councillor.

The new digital solution will simplify the process by allowing employers to verify candidates digitally, without the need for multiple meetings and paper-based documentation.

Entrepreneur Karen Dolva, with experience in sourcing international expertise, experienced that it took six months before her company, No Isolation, could pay a newly hired employee from Iran. A temporary and impractical solution was the use of loans. 

She believes Oslo and Norway have good conditions to take a leadership position internationally in creating new green jobs. Therefore, it is important that Norway does not lose candidates due to the recruitment process.

Several Norwegian companies, including Remarkable, will now test the municipality's solution with actual candidates. The goal is to cut processing time to three days. This will apply to all candidates from countries outside the EU.

The City of Oslo's fast track for work permits

The new platform, will allow the following:

  • Employers seeking foreign labour to be pre-qualified by the City of Oslo
  • Employers to verifry the candidate through the employment contract
  • The candidate will use a digital wallet, and therefore do not need to apply to each agency separately, as the employment contract is reused through the digital solution
  • Documentation will be based on the employment contract and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration's form "Offer of employer." This means the solution does not require legal changes or new grounds for residence permits.

If the pilot proves successful in Oslo, the goal is to roll out the solution nationally. The hope is that the measure will attract more qualified international workers to Norway.