79: Succeeding with Norway’s Job-Seeker Permit

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Life in Norway Show Episode 79: Abby Noble shares her inspiring story of planning exactly how she would find a job in Norway, obtaining a job-seeker permit, and finding her ideal job in an Oslo architecture firm.

Moving to Norway is a dream for many, but finding a job is often the biggest barrier. Today I’m joined by Abby Noble, an American who moved to Norway without a job in order to find one.

Abby Noble in Oslo, Norway.
Abby Noble obtained a job-seeker visa and found a job in Oslo, Norway.

She applied for Norway’s job-seeker visa in order to carry out her plan. She joins me on the show today to talk about the visa, and her process for finding work in the architecture industry in Oslo.

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Introducing Abby

Abby grew up in Wisconsin and lived in Colorado prior to her making the move to Norway.

It was her time living close to nature in Colorado, together with some time spent in Denmark on a study abroad program, that saw her lean towards the Scandinavian way of life.

Once Abby decided she wanted to move to Norway, she began an intensive period of research. She discovered the job-seeker visa, which would give her just six months in Norway, so made a plan based on that time frame.

Job-Seeker Visa

Norway’s job-seeker residence permit is one we don’t often talk about on the show. To get the permit, you’ll need a professional education and a substantial amount of money to live on, as you cannot work, even part-time, with this permit.

“You also needed to prove you had a place to live. It felt like a chicken-and-egg thing because if I don't get the visa, I don't need a place to live,” says Abby.

On the show, Abby explains the various restrictions and how the strict time limit of the permit meant she had no time to lose. She essentially treated the six-month period as a full-time job.

“That's exactly why I came prepared. I didn't want to get to Norway and waste any time doing things I could have prepared in advance. That time felt very precious to me,” she says.

Working in Architecture

Abby eventually found work in an architecture office in Oslo. We discuss some of the defining features of Norwegian architecture, and how working practices differ from a U.S. firm.

She is treating her first year as a learning experience, listening and observing: “I critically speak up if I have questions, but I have found some things to make so much more sense, for example on the technical level of how they draw things. But there are some things that look strange to me, such as how they coordinate the electrical outlets, so I'm trying to keep an open mind and adjust to that.”

Abby says she has learned so much simply by seeing things from a different perspective: “There is more time and energy spent on design and thoughtfulness, bringing in wood and a healing atmosphere to hospitals that I am working on. In the U.S., we don't use a lot of wood in medical architecture.”

“The laws for workers having access to daylight is something we don't have in America. I am working on a pharmacy right now where there are windows for the pharmacy staff, and that would never happen in some of my U.S. projects,” she adds.

Links from the show

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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