How Brexit will impact Norwegian businesses with British employees


31st of January 2020 Brexit was a fact. From 1st of January 2021 British citizens no longer are EU/EEA citizens. This impacts British citizens who live and work in Norway or wish to travel to Norway in 2021. Norwegian businesses have to prepare for their British employees from 2021 having to apply for a residence permit to live and work in Norway.

The UK left the EU on 31st of January 2020. Until end of 2020, the impact on businesses is limited, thanks to a withdrawal agreement that secures UK to be treated as if the country was still a member of the EU and EEA. From the 1st of January 2020 Norway’s relationship is no longer regulated by the EEA agreement, nor the withdrawal agreement. From this time and forward, all British citizens in Norway will be treated as non-EU/EEA-citizens. Both Norwegian and British companies with British employees working in Norway, should as soon as possible get an overview of their British employees and the basis for their stay or residence in Norway.

Also have a look at RSMs article on Brexit impacts on Norwegian companies with company management who either resides in the UK or are UK citizens and RSMs overview on Brexit implications for businesses in Norway.

Right to residence for EU/EEA-citizens and non-EU/EEA-citizens

The terms of a residence permit in Norway and the application process depends on whether the applicant is a citizen of an EU/EEA-country or a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country. For EU/EEA citizens, there are a simplified set of rules. As a starting point, such citizens have right to residency in Norway for up to three months, and the right to further residency if he/she works in Norway.

Non-EU/EEA citizens are not included in these simplified rules and have to follow the ordinary rules for residence permit. This means that if you are from a country outside the EU/EEA and wish to work in Norway, you will need a residence permit. Since the UK no longer is a part of the EU/EEA, British citizens will change status in Norway from being a EU/EEA citizen to a non-EU/EEA citizen from 1st of January 2021.

British citizens living and working in Norway as of 31st of December 2020

British citizens who already are resident in Norway before the transition period ends on 31st December 2020, will continue their right to live and work in Norway. British citizens with family relations in Norway that was established prior to 31st of December 2020, will also have the right to a residence permit on the basis of the simplified rules for family immigration applicable to EU/EEA-citizens.

British employees in Norwegian companies

Norwegian companies with British employees may continue as before until the end of the transition period 31st of December 2020. After that, one has to adjust to the changing rules following Brexit.

British citizens that are employed on a Norwegian contract and receives salary from a Norwegian company will automatically have the right to further stay and work in Norway. However, such British citizens still have to apply for a residence permit on the basis for work and register at the local police by presentation of a valid ID.

A key aspect for businesses is as soon as possible to get an overview of their British employees, what their basis of stay is and how they will be affected by Brexit. Furthermore, it is important that one sets up a plan for follow-up of necessary measures to ensure that one is compliant with the new rules.

Posted workers employed by a British company (service providers)

British citizens that are residents in UK, but performs work for a British company for a limited period of time in Norway are so-called “service providers”. Such service providers may continue carrying out work as before until 31st of December 2020. From 1st of January 2021, such service providers must obtain a residence permit to continue their assignment or take new assignments in Norway. Notice that this also applies for service providers that already are in Norway at the end of 2020 if the assignment continues into 2021.

Posted workers employed by a EU/EEA-company (service provider).  

People that are employed in companies in an EU/EEA country will not be affected by Brexit. Such employees will from 1st of January 2021 have the right to stay for up to three months without applying for a residence card.  After this three-month period, one has the right to further stay given that the work takes place as part of a service's performance according to the EU/EEA agreement, or the work necessary to establish a business in Norway.

What to consider for British citizens residing in Norway per 31st of December 2020

As a starting point, British citizens who have a right of residence before the transition period expires 31st of December 2020, will still have the right to reside and work in Norway. However, they will still have to formalize such right by filing an application on the webpage of The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and by registration at the local police. This must be done within 90 days after arrival in Norway.

Due to waiting time to get such appointment with local police, British citizens with the right of residence in Norway, e.g., as an employee, student or family member of an EU/EEA citizen, can stay in Norway even if it takes more than 90 days from entry until meeting with the police.

British citizens traveling to Norway after 1st of January 2021

As the UK no longer is a part of the EU/EEA, British citizens that wish to live or work in Norway and who does not have a right to such stay on the basis of the withdrawal agreement, have to apply for a residence permit according to the ordinary rules for residence permit. One can apply for residence permit basis of work, family immigration, studies and au pair.

Stay with a duration of less than 90 days

British citizens are allowed to travel to Norway without holding a visa when the duration of stay is less than 90 days in a total period of 180 days. These British citizens will usually not have the right to work, but a few exemptions apply.

Stay with a duration of more than 90 days

British citizens with the intention of staying in Norway for more than 90 days have to apply for a residence permit. However, these British citizens will have the right to family immigration according to the simplified rules for EU/EEA-citizens if the family relation was established before the end of 2020. If such family relation was not established before end of 2020, the ordinary rules for family immigration from countries outside EU/EEA apply.

Further reading on Brexit

RSM keeps you up to date on the latest news on Brexit and what consequences Brexit may have for Norwegian businesses.

You can find our related articles on Brexit here.

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