Video Coverage: Norway’s Bureaucratic and Political Barriers to Attract International Talents

Text by Ka Man Mak
Photos by Leanna Lunde
Video by André Percy Katombe

On Wednesday 30th March, Oslo Region Alliance and Oslo Business Region hosted a breakfast event at MESH Youngstorget to spotlight the bureaucratic, political, and practical challenges related to international talent attraction and retention.

To become more internationally competitive, and remain at the forefront of the green shift, companies in Norway and Oslo are dependent on recruiting from abroad. However, the 2021 report, ‘The Bureaucratic Obstacle Course for Internationals Moving to Norway’ conducted by Oslo Region Alliance in collaboration with Pavel Sindlar from Oslo Expat Center, highlighted the severity of international talents’ experience of coming to Norway. Internationals’ feedback said, “that the process of settling down here was confusing, overly complicated and that it took a surprisingly long time to be registered.”

The report is based on a survey of 1373 responses from internationals living across Norway with five key challenges: inaccurate information for residential application processes, challenges resulting from long residential application processes, bank-related challenges, Catch 22s scenarios and the lack of clarity about who qualifies for the Norwegian identity number (fødselsnummer).   

The Talent Attraction Breakfast program brought together international entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as politicians, representatives of different towns, and the CEO of Finance Norway to highlight their experiences, the research that has been done, how they are trying to solve the noticeable barriers and their future ambitions.

The program started with Sondre Jahr Nygaard from Abelia highlighting the need for skilled ICT competence, quality education, expertise in education and incorporation of further education into employees’ work life. ICT and digitalisation will become more important in Norway.

A panel of international entrepreneurs and professionals, Sean Percival (Iterate Norway), Pavel Sindlar (Oslo Expat Center), and Raja Skogland (The Visionary Company) shared their experiences in moving to Norway and the obstacles in doing business.

Alfred Bjørnlo from Venstre (Liberal Party) talked about their initiative to introduce the “Entrepreneur and Investor Visa” from countries outside EEA and the need for new strategies to strengthen growth opportunities for international entrepreneurs and to simplify application processes. The initiative was at the time being discussed in a parliament hearing under Dok.8:81 Proposal 7. A vote will be cast on Thursday 31th March at 2pm on whether to pass the suggested proposal.

It is understood from the political debate about the challenges international face, participated by Alfred Bjørlo from Liberal Party, that a majority vote for the proposal might not come to be. Alongside him on the panel were Andreas Unneland from Socialist Left Party, Solveig Vitanza from Labour Party; and Idar Kreutzer from Finance Norway, moderated by Fredrik Syvertsen, IKT-Norge.

Idar Kreutzer from Finance Norway, an organisation for the financial industry stressed the differences between a D-number and a Norwegian Identity Number, which affects one’s financial access. It is hoped that the ID card would make it easier for internationals to open a bank account.

Check out our video coverage of the International Talent Attraction Breakfast:


Here is the full program:

Welcome by Øyvind Såtvedt from Oslo Region Alliance and Siw Andersen from Oslo Business Region

The bureaucratic and political barriers for talent relocation

  • Sondre Jahr Nygaard (Abelia) will talk about the need for skilled competence
  • A panel of internationals who have had to learn the hard way what moving to Norway entails with Sean Percival (Iterate Norway), Pavel Sindlar (Oslo Expat Center), Raja Skogland (The Visionary Company).
  • Alfred Bjørnlo from Venstre will talk about Venstre’s initiative to introduce “Gründer and Investor visa”
  • Political debate about the challenges international face, participation by Alfred Bjørlo from Liberal Party, Andreas Unneland from Socialist Left Party, Solveig Vitanza from Labour Party and Idar Kreutzer from Finance Norway, moderated by Fredrik Syvertsen, IKT-Norge.
  • Coffee break and mingle

The attractiveness of Oslo for international talent and how can we improve it

  • “International talent attraction is harder than it sounds and much harder than you think” with Christine Julia Feehan, Link Mobility
  • Branding Oslo for international talent by Siw Andersen, OBR
  • Panel discussion on the topic of what does international talent look for when moving to another country, and what is important for a good relocation process, with Andrew Gregory (Kongsberg International School), Gina Finsrud (Søndre Viken IPR and the City of Halden), Thea Pope (the City of Oslo), Ann Kristin Winje (Relocate2Norway) and Jyoti Sohal-David (Skillhus)
  • Summary of Osloregionen and Oslo Business Regions efforts for Talent Attraction and closing remarks

Event: https://www.osloregionen.no/kalender/talent-attraction-breakfast-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Ka Man Mak

Ka Man is an investigative journalist, documentary photographer, and social entrepreneur, as well as the founder of The Oslo Desk. She is a British-born Hong Konger residing in Oslo, Norway. She holds a Master in Environmental Geoscience and have taken numerous diplomas including child psychology, and a course in big data analytics at OsloMet. Made numerous publications in newsletters, magazines and Norwegian newspapers. Interested in edtech, constructive journalism, women in migration, Cantonese language, alternatives to capitalism and asylum policy.