So let’s say you recently decided to move to Norway. Here are some things you should know about:
When you work in Norway, you automatically become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme from your first day of work. You will not become a member though, if you are working temporarily for your foreign employer in Norway.
Through the membership you are entitled to health services in Norway and can earn pension rights according to the regulations of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
When you live and work in Norway, you will be registered with Norske Folketrygden (Norwegian National Insurance), which covers the entire population. This provides public health care which is financed by the Norwegian State and managed by the countries. A charge is payable for visits to doctors. Hospital stays are largely free of charge.
The Norwegian health service is based on a decentralized model. The State formulates policy, capacity and quality through budgets and legislation. The countries and municipalities are formally responsible for the planning and running of the health service within the law and budgeted frameworks.
The municipalities are responsible for the primary health service
- Preventative health measures. The school service, clinics, physiotherapists, the midwifery service, pregnancy check â€“ ups and vaccination programmes
- Diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The ambulance service general medical treatment, physiotherapy and treatment during illness.
- Nursing in and outside institutions. Nursing Homes and district nurses.
The counties are responsible for the public dental service.
The following groups are included:
- Children and adolescents (below 21 years)
- People with impaired mental development
- Elderly and disabled people with chronic illnesses who reside at institutions or care homes
The rest of the population use the private dental service, which patients pay for themselves
The occupational health service in Norway is organized in a number of ways. Individual major corporations have their own occupational health services, and some companies share a joint service. A third model involves workplaces buying in occupational health services from a private doctorâ€™s surgery.
The personal doctor system
These are general practitioners who have contracts with the public sector/municipality.
All citizens registered at the Folkeregister (Register Office) are entitled to their own permanent doctor. Your permanent doctor has to give you an appointment quickly, at publicly set prices. This is a voluntary arrangement. If you choose to use a different doctor who does not have a contract with the municipality, costs are a lot higher. You can switch your permanent doctor up to twice/year.
Private health services:
In order to supplement the public institutions and services, a number of private hospitals and health institutions have been established.
Particular cases are the semi-private arrangements where â€“ for example â€“ physiotherapists operating privately perform services on behalf of public health authorities.
The emergency services are municipal services.
Most children are born at the local hospital. Babies are registered in the same municipality as their mothers, unless the parents decide otherwise. Children with one Norwegian parent automatically become Norwegian citizens.
As a rule, child support is paid to all mothers (when the child lives in Norway) until the child reaches the age of 18. Cash benefits are paid for children aged between 1 and 3, unless the children go to publicly financed or part-financed nurseries.
To marry in Norway, you have to be 18. A certificate has to be produced confirming that there are no obstacles to the couple marrying. Church weddings and civil weddings are permitted. In accordance with the law, married parents have the same responsibility for any children they may have together.
Unmarried couples can live together in a formalized relationship and have many of the same rights as couples who are formally married. But as far as any children are concerned, they have to enter into an agreement stating that they hold equal responsibility for their children. Cohabiting couples do not automatically have mutual inheritance rights. To have mutual inheritance rights, wills have to be written stating this.
Finding schools for your children
Children under the age of 6 are allowed a place at a nursery. Things are reasonably fair, but there are not enough nursery places for everyone in Norway, so it can be difficult to find a place. The municipality where you will be living can provide you with information on local conditions.
All foreign children are entitled and obligated to go to school, and all compulsory education is free. Children start school the year they reach the age of 6.
When you know which town or municipality you will be living in, you should contact the local school authorities/nursery office. Essentially, children go to the school which is nearest to the place where they live with their families.
If the child is in one of the first 4 years of school, with a relatively short school day, you may need supervision for them once they have left school for the day. Skolefritidsordningen (the School and Leisure Scheme), or SFO, is a municipal facility for the hours before and after school. SFOs can be found at schools, or in their immediate vicinity. As this is not part of the school day, a charge is payable.
It may be a good idea to contact the school before you move to Norway so that they are aware that they will be having a new pupil.
There are a number of foreign schools in Norway which offer education in languages other than Norwegian; primarily English, German and French.
The cost of accommodation varies widely in Norway and has gone up a lot over the past few years. The highest prices are in Oslo and its surroundings, Bergen and Stavanger. Finding accommodation which is not quite so expensive is easiest outside of the central areas of the biggest cities.
There are several different ways to live in Norway. You can rent, live in a housing cooperative or buy your own home. The rental market in Norway is small; by far the majority of people own their own home.
Houses and apartments are normally advertised in the local press and in the Aftenposten national newspaper. Some newspapers have a housing supplement one day a week, and also place ads for accommodation on the Internet. You can also advertise for accommodation yourself.
Estate agents mostly deal with the sale of houses and apartments, but they also arrange rentals. You can find them in the yellow pages under Eiendomsmeklere – Estate Agents. Estate agents deal with the formal side of things, such as financial arrangements and registration. Loans are mostly arranged via banks, and you can take out a mortgage against your home.
If you want to rent a house or apartment, you should have a rental contract. These contracts are normally valid for a year at a time with subsequent periods of five years, with mutual entitlement to cancellation. The notice period is normally a month. As a rule, you have to pay a deposit of one to three monthsâ€™ rent. Your deposit has to be placed in a blocked account. You can find standard contracts in Bookshops or on the Internet. Most rental properties are apartments which are rented out either furnished or unfurnished.
Cost of living
Living expenses, which include heating and municipal charges for water and refuse collection, are the biggest outgoing for families or single people.
Transport expense account for about 18%. The third biggest outlay for households in the cost of recreation and cultural activities, approx. 12%. People spend about 11% of their wages on food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Alcoholic drinks and meals in restaurants are considered to be expensive in Norway, particularly in comparison with other European countries.