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In retrospect, would you move again to Norway?

Hi all,

If you had to look back on your expat experience in Norway, would you heartily say "let’s do it again"?

From the preparation stage to your actual everyday life in your new country, what did you enjoy the most?

Would you do certain things differently? Could you tell us why?

How would you describe the benefits of your expatriation in Norway so far?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Christine

If I am a refugee, of course, I will move to Norway because they provide excellent benefits and welfare.

If I am a skilled professional or wealthy business man/person then I will avoid Norway entirely. Norway taxed all assets and wealth of all migrants. Anything of value brought into the country will also be taxed regardless of origin or age (of the item). If you send it in by post, the taxes include postage and delivery ie value of the item plus postage/shipping then taxed as a total. If return to your homeland then arrived back in Norway with a Rolex then it will be taxed unless you purchased it in Norway before you left. I actually had the watch in my carry on when I left Norway at the airport but returned wearing it on my wrist when passing through custom. I was taxed heftily for the watch at the custom. I was unable to proof when I bought that watch because it was purchased many years ago. I still have the receipt somewhere in my safe overseas. While I understand the desire to prevent money laundering and tax evasion, nevertheless, any successful professionals would have some assets and personal valuables and jewelries when they migrate into Norway. It means that our personal values and earnings are taxed again simply because we migrated into Norway. These assets would directly enrich the nation because it will be used to purchase properties, cars etc etc.

If you try to bring a foreign car into Norway, it will have to be trashed within one year regardless of the age of the car because you would not be able to register or drive it legally in Norway.

These are severe hindrances to successful skilled migrants coming into Norway.

Absolutely not would I have moved here "had I known". As has already been outlined, Norway taxes the shirt off peoples' backs and more. If you are self employed, tax is high with little benefit to you. Half of the working population is on a sick line, on uføretrygd or on the way to it - and guess what - if you re working then you re paying for them.
My wife when we needed to move to another city had to rent out her flat as market had crashed - when it sold 3 years later the Norwegian tax authorities treated it as income because it had been rented out. Wife had no receipts also for work done when she remortgaged and they charged tax on sale price - purchase price. We may be made bankrupt as we re not paying it quick enough for them .
Many Norwegians like the system as they benefit. Of course it is unsustainable and it will collapse - just a matter of time particularly with oil price crash.
The language also is hard to speak well, takes a long time to master and probably not worth the effort.
Sorry to be negative - I'm leaving as soon as I can.

I would definately do it again.  I came from the UK (at the time of the financial crisis and I simply coudn't get a job after university), it took quite a few months where I needed to learn the lanauge before I could get a job, but when I did everything changed and things are great.  Language is key.

Would I do things differently?  I would try harder to learn the language sooner, and maybe accept 'lesser' jobs sooner, rather than just looking for a job in IT (which I studied).  This would have meant I would at least get some income rather than nothing (I was relying on my Norwegian Girlfriend at the time).

Benefits are great job security, great pay, lovely scenerey!  I feel the UK is almost all City and not much wilderness left, Norway is the complete opposite.  I've lived in Oslo and about 45 mins away and it's so beautiful here.

Norway is a tough nut to crack, if you never learn the lanauge you will never be accepted properly, but when you do and if you get a good job things are great.

Another reason people will leave (us and 2 other families we know) is due to the lack of choice in the school system and mediocre standards in many schools. A dearth of private schools. Children don't start until age 6. There is also an expectation that they should go to nursery beforehand, most parents don't have a choice anyway as they need to go out to work to pay all the tax. No single sex education (it has been shown academically girls perform better in an all female school at high school age.) Worse, ungdom skoler have health visitors and social workers based in the school. Your children can consult these workers of the state who will handout contraception and other medical interventions without parental consent. Complain and they ll refer you to barnevernet. You have been warned.

For all the people complaining about high Tax.  Urgh come on.  You are all neglecting to say you only pay tax for 10.5 months.  June is tax-free and you actually get more money from feriepenger and Descember you only pay 50% tax.  So sure you need to make up for that on the other months but I feel it's actually a great system. 

Anyone complaining about ufører (people who can't work due to dissability etc) if you get a in a car crash and loose your legs, wouldn't you want to be taken care of?  If your child is born with dissability would you rather live in a country where you would get the bare minimum if not simply neglected?  The country takes care of everyone, I don't see a problem with that.  I pay a lot of tax, and I feel I contribute to the country rather than just thinking about myself.  I have great quality of life here in Norway, these things don't stop that.

***
When you have a salary, no children and haven't had a run in with the authorities, things seem fine in Norway. But it s all superficial. Dig deeper.
Fine Gary your experience has been positive. Mine s has not. You don't mind paying tax because actually you're not really paying that much relatively speaking and you feel you can take from the system. I am warning others who might per chance read this blog to think very carefully about this country.

Moderated by Priscilla last year
Reason : post edited - inappropriate remarks

Personally I would move again, I have been here 3 years and I feel more at home here than I have ever been in my home country.
Norway is a social democracy with little to no religious influence.
If that is the kind of environment one likes then it is the perfect place.
Norwegian schooling is, as a matter of fact, one of the best in the world (ranking solidly in the top 20, and for most rankings it is in the upper 10). It's important to note Norwegian schooling, especially in primary school, is not focused on knowledge but forming a good social environment as to develop social skills.
Taxes are obviously higher due to the socialist nature of the economy, on the other hand benefits are common and spread among the population with a wage gap much lower than other countries (for sure lower than Italy where I come from) with wages notable higher.
Vacation days, parental leave extended to both parents, sick leave...
All in all Norway is not a place to go if you want to be rich, it is a place you go if you are looking for happines.
At least it's what I found out.

We can both have our own opinions on this, that's fine and I accept how you feel about it.  It's fine that you're 'warning' people about how things are in Norway, I just have a different opinion as to what is acceptable.  You dislike how well people are taken care of when ill, that's fine, plenty of other countries where you pay less tax and people are forced to work when unwell :) Enjoy it there.

Gary you are the one who said "ugh...come on" and then proceeded to make out those who oppose high taxation are somehow "unreasonable." I personally oppose all taxation and have realised that taxation at any level is theft because it is done without consent or contract. I point out that Norway is even worse than most places, particularly when the arbeidepartiet have been in power. Let's list other abuses, 1 % wealth tax annually fortunately rescinded presently by høyre and frp. You, as an Englishman, should find such things disgusting. Do you like to be robbed?
You then give an argument about the disabled. People can make their own arrangements for misfortunes. It s called insurance , savings, friends, family, philanthropic charities etc. these things would exist in abundance were we not being bled dry by the state monopoly. And no - I don't want to pay for people who can't be bothered of which are the majority who claim disability in Norway.
English friends of mine were getting charged 100000 NOK for a car they imported , luckily they scrapped it in time. The gentleman who got taxed on his Rolex above fraudulently, same with us - they taxed my wife on her bag which was sent out the country for specialist repair- we had to pay before we were able to claim the money back after getting documentation from the repairer. We now are being pursued for money we never earned due to the stupid rules of the government of the day - bankruptcy laws here are probably the worst in Europe by the way. Pray that your own life stays uncomplicated.

A friendly reminder that we are here to exchange opinions and experiences, not argue and make offensive remarks, as have already occurred.  Please adhere to the Norway Forum Code of Conduct when posting.

Thank you

Romaniac
Expat.com Experts Team

Rabbie :

Gary you are the one who said "ugh...come on" and then proceeded to make out those who oppose high taxation are somehow "unreasonable." I personally oppose all taxation and have realised that taxation at any level is theft because it is done without consent or contract. I point out that Norway is even worse than most places, particularly when the arbeidepartiet have been in power. Let's list other abuses, 1 % wealth tax annually fortunately rescinded presently by høyre and frp. You, as an Englishman, should find such things disgusting. Do you like to be robbed?
You then give an argument about the disabled. People can make their own arrangements for misfortunes. It s called insurance , savings, friends, family, philanthropic charities etc. these things would exist in abundance were we not being bled dry by the state monopoly. And no - I don't want to pay for people who can't be bothered of which are the majority who claim disability in Norway.
English friends of mine were getting charged 100000 NOK for a car they imported , luckily they scrapped it in time. The gentleman who got taxed on his Rolex above fraudulently, same with us - they taxed my wife on her bag which was sent out the country for specialist repair- we had to pay before we were able to claim the money back after getting documentation from the repairer. We now are being pursued for money we never earned due to the stupid rules of the government of the day - bankruptcy laws here are probably the worst in Europe by the way. Pray that your own life stays uncomplicated.

I have to say, honestly I'm appalled.
A state with no taxation is not a state (no law enforcement, infrastructure, nothing). How would that even work? Some form of anarchy?

Taxes are known and information about them is available from multiple sources. Did you not check before moving into the country?
As far as I know Britain had its fair share of rampant capitalism, including people dying like flies in coal mines and getting discarded when they could not. That's the kind of thing social welfare is for, give a safety net for people to use as not to end up begging on a street or six feet under.
This also helps the economy as it is more conveninent to prevent diseases and illnesses than selling medications for it.

Some people can make arrangements for misfortunes, others do not have that chance. As a matter of fact the example of a state with the policies you are describing is the US. A country where you WILL be left to die unless you can pay for it.
I would like to know where you get your figures about "most people claiming disability  "can't be bothered"
Can't be bothered to do what anyway?

From what I understand your point is mostly for psychological issues which you assume are abused, am I correct?

Importing cars in Norway is extremely expensive, this reflects the fact that the infrastructure is more expensive to mantain than other countries. On top of that it also helps prevent pollution as those that do not actually need a car will not get one. Public transport is good enough to not actually need a car in the first place. I used to have a car in Italy which I left to my family there when I moved, exactly because I knew it would have been expensive.
Again, this is lack of self learning, not a fault for the state. Your friends did not even bother to check any import law before moving?

https://www.skatteetaten.no/en/Person/c … or-import/

What would be the issue with bankruptcy?

I've been here for three years and I absolutely would move again. I paid my taxes in the USA only to then be driving on roads that were literally falling apart, and paying considerably out-of-pocket for my health insurance as well (while working at a company that supposedly had great benefits). In Norway I see where the tax money goes because it's the services I actually use.

My Norwegian fiancé is also disabled, and I would happily pay to assist people like him. He wants to work and does work, and the government assistance he gets is essential for him to be able to contribute to society at the same level as others. He can't always use the public transportation (imagine getting into a crowded commuter train where there's standing room only if you're in a wheelchair) so I think it's perfectly fair that he get discounted tolls to drive into the city. He gets subsidized help to clean his apartment because he can't bend over to sweep and clean like the rest of us can. However, nobody who's met him, sees his disability and learns what kinds of things he does feels like he's "sucking off the system".

He has family who're very helpful, but expecting them to do everything takes a huge toll on them too, and means they're less productive members of society in other ways. He also has insurance but insurance doesn't cover this kind of thing fully. Sure, there are people who abuse the system but there are also so many who're getting a little help just to give them an equal chance at life as the rest of us have. I'd much rather live in a place where that's the general philosophy than in a place like America where food insecurity is a regular problem, where life misfortunes are seen as something deserved because someone "didn't plan properly".

GaryO :

For all the people complaining about high Tax.  Urgh come on.  You are all neglecting to say you only pay tax for 10.5 months.  June is tax-free and you actually get more money from feriepenger and Descember you only pay 50% tax.  So sure you need to make up for that on the other months but I feel it's actually a great system.

June is NOT tax free and December is not 50% tax only.  You are being taxed for June and Dec ....just that the amount is spread out in the other 10 months.

I would not mind the tax if they actually spend it on better healthcare, infrastructure, education and nursing.  Instead they want to spend in on giving it away to other countries or sports!!!!

fornight :

I would not mind the tax if they actually spend it on better healthcare, infrastructure, education and nursing.  Instead they want to spend in on giving it away to other countries or sports!!!!

Better than how it is? :|

Italyinnorway :
fornight :

I would not mind the tax if they actually spend it on better healthcare, infrastructure, education and nursing.  Instead they want to spend in on giving it away to other countries or sports!!!!

Better than how it is? :|

I have experienced personally how the healthcare system in Norway is...and I have seen how it was to a dear friend of mine who passed away due to cancer.  All I can say is they are still using treatment that are 20 years old.  They do not have the latest treatment or any new treatment in the last 10 years...why?  they think it is too expensive to train the doctors on how to apply the latest treatments.  In addition, they are skeptical that anyone outside of Norway is able to come up with effective treatments.  Those treatments must be mumbo jumbo.

I have first hand experience of how they view diagnoistic done by doctors in other countries who happened to be a reputed medical hub.  The doctor in Norway practically told me "he does not believe such thing exist!".

Have you seen how poorly maintained the barnehagen in Oslo is?  Each barnehagen have different rules and standards even though they are all under communal.  The kids are being fed with very poor quality food*!  The hot meal they are served are hotdogs!!!  If you ask the teachers why there is no better food, reply is "not enough budget".

I live very close to the old folks nursing home for recovery......the facilities there are seriously BARE minimal.  The facilities in MY COUNTRY is better than that.

The Norwegian tax system - as high as it is - is not enough to fund the incredibly high cost of their welfare, education and healthcare system unless the oil price is high (direct and indirect effect on the economy) and everybody has a job.

There was an articled published by an economy professor at NTNU stating that the Norwegian economy has not grown at all in the last 10 years if the oil revenue and the fund interest are excluded from the calculation.

Also the Norwegian government has withdraw money from the oil fund in order to balance the year budget. And that is just because unemployment grew from 3% to 5%.

Bottom line, Norway has lived in a bauble for the last 10 years because of the extremely high oil price. The country has a serious efficiency issue (considering what they get out of what they spend). I also agree with those who say that Norwegians have a superiority complex. The extensive protectionism is a clear example of that. But in their defence, all countries with a strong sense of patriotic nationalism have people like that.

There are many great things about Norway but expect all of that to change if the oil price stays low in years to come. There are many in the government that are against touching the oil fund and if that pressure grows, then expect huge spending cuts.

coming back to the topic, if it is not because of my husband, I will not move to Norway.  I come from Singapore and it is in fact a far more developed and efficient country than Norway.  yes, the pace of life and work stress in singapore are much faster and higher than in Norway but Singaporeans are able to keep up with the rest of the world.

Norway??? I doubt so.  In fact, I am worried that my newly delivered child will not be able to keep up with the rest of the world if she is going to be raised in Norway.  that is something I need to fight with my husband over.  He wants her to have a nice childhood with no stress.  Yes, I agree with nice childhood but the education standard in Norway is just ridiculous!  How is the child able to do what she wants to do with the kind of education system they have?

If I am sick with serious illness in Norway, trust me, I will FLY STRAIGHT back to Singapore for treatment.  The medical standard in Norway is just ridiculous.  the Doctors have god-like attitude and do not like to provide information.   I will have a better chance of recovery and SURVIVAL if I get treated in Singapore.

Like in most countries, standards vary from place to place, school or hospital to another, etc. In the UK for example there is the so called schools postcode lottery and the standard you get depend on where you live. Norway is not that different and you will observe a similar pattern in every large western country. Singapore is a State city and maintaining standards in a small area is a lot easier.

postcode lottery

There are private health care insurance providers and international schools. If you can afford them, then use them. Depending on where you live, there are also experimental schools teaching the IB program at decent price.

Do your research and learn how to make the best out of the system and learn about janteloven. If you totally disagree with janteloven, then you are going to have a hard time in Norway.

janteloven

Expats get their employers to pay for international schools and private hospitals. Migrants instead must accept whatever they get.

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