I contracted in Norway - Ask me anything I contracted in Norway - Ask me anything
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie


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    Default I contracted in Norway - Ask me anything



    Hello all,

    I have been contracting in Norway for over a year now, and would like to offer up some real numbers and hard facts plus some opinion - and try to answer any questions, people might have. I do this because I wish I had had somebody to ask before I wen there, so I could have made more informed decisions and set realistic expectations.

    I want to retain anonymity, so I will keep the numbers round and some facts vague.

    I am in my late 30s and have been a professional developer for about 15 years. I am born and live in a western European EU country, that is not UK. I am a developer in the Microsoft-space, and was hired through an agent in Norway to work for a large oil company on location in Oslo.

    All numbers are in NOK unless otherwise specified. 100NOK is about €13 or £11 pounds.


    Work and hourly

    My hourly when I first started was just below 600NOK, raised to about 680NOK after 8 months. My agent charged 30% on top of that. I billed monthly and got paid 30 days later.

    I worked on average 130 hours a month when factoring in holidays, which they expect me to take like the permies - ~5 weeks a year.


    Tax

    To work there as a contractor, I had to register a Norwegian company (a special kind called NUF which means Norwegian Foreing Registered company). The process was very painful and impossible to figure out. Working here as a contractor for an extended period of time - you will get taxed here.

    I have to pay ~14% social security tax as an employer and ~40% tax as an employee - and since I am both, I get to pay both (yay!).

    I spent about 13000NOK a month on expenses after getting a very good deal on an apartment and only being able to deduct my own flights home, not those of my wife coming here.

    Gross I took home about 62% of my earnings, but after expenses it was reduced to about 44%, meaning that every time I billed the agency 100 NOK, 44 of them ended up in my pocket after taxes and business expenses - and then comes the super-high consumer prices out of that. I had expected to be able to retain more before I came here.

    After 8 months, I changed to an umbrella company, which has increased my net take-home to about 49%. I highly recommend not doing it yourself, and just go through an umbrella.

    Tax and law is not by any stretch of the imagination a specialty of mine, so I don't think I can contribute much here - but I am happy to try.

    Expenses

    A small apartment in or not too far from the city runs about 9-13.000NOK a month, everything included. Finding one was rather easy, using Finn.no, the most popular classifieds site.

    Everything is ubelieably expensive in Norway. Order a standard pizza in a restaurant, get charged 200NOK. Beer is about 30NOK/bottle in the shops, more like 80-100NOK in a pub. Groceries in general are also very expensive, but of course that will always be relative. I find that using this site is a good way to get an idea about the price level compared to your own location: Cost Of Living Comparison

    If you bring a car along, you are allowed to have it here for 2 years total without putting it on Norwegian plates (which will cost you about 2x the car value). Gas is pretty expensive (about 15NOK/l) and there are plenty of tolls to be paid as well. Register on https://turistportalen.csautopass.no/ when you get here, and they will yank the money right out of your credit card when you pass a toll station. For longer stays, register for an Autopass, where you will be billed monthly (and get a small discount) AutoPASS.


    Culture

    Everything moves slowly and they love their forms and paperwork. I have not gone out much, so I really cannot comment much on it - but with the prices... Yikes. Most contact I have had with Norwegian authorities have been relatively pleasant from a being helpful perspective - but the rules are terrible. Girls here are some of the most attractive in the world, but since I am spoken for, I just look and sigh. Norwegians trust each other and it is very, very safe here.



    Feel free to ask me anything.
    Last edited by frosty; 20th August 2013 at 20:29.

  2. #2

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    Current exchange rate is approx. 9.36 NOK to the pound, if you said 10 you wouldn't be far off the mark.

    NOK GBP
    100 10.68
    200 21.37
    300 32.05
    400 42.74
    500 53.42
    1000 106.84
    1500 160.26

    Thanks Frosty, not that I am off to Oslo anytime soon, but a useful thread for those that may be.
    Never has a man been heard to say on his death bed that he wishes he'd spent more time in the office.

  3. #3

    My post count is Majestic

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    Why am I unattractive and uninteresting to the opposite sex?

    and

    Are there many gigs out there that pay expenses for non nationals or are they all at your own cost?
    Last edited by northernladuk; 21st August 2013 at 13:32. Reason: Ban avoidance engaged.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  4. #4

    Should post faster


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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Why am I unattractive and uninteresting to the opposite sex?
    Must be the helmet.

  5. #5

    Nervous Newbie


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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Why am I unattractive and uninteresting to the opposite sex?
    Maybe you are just targeting the wrong sex?

  6. #6

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    What is your favourite colour?
    Blood in your poo

  7. #7

    Ddraig Goch


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    Read the first bit and worked out what 680NOK was and thought not bad. Then I read about under 50% retention. Not so good.
    Rhyddid i lofnod psychocandy!!!!

  8. #8

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    I am one quarter Norwegian!

  9. #9

    Fingers like lightning

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Which quarter?
    Top left?

  10. #10

    Should post faster

    chineseJohn's Avatar
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    thanks for the guide, interesting read, despite the high taxes I wouldn't mind a 1yr gig there, just experience the fjords and the great outdoors.

    I did visit Norway last year, just 15 people on the plane, then I realised why, as you say bl00dy expensive. BK Whopper meal was an eyewatering £12

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