Settle in Haugesund

Living in Norway
Norway is a small country with few class distinctions. Most children in Norway go to public primary and secondary schools and everyone have the same access to medical care.  Norwegian food habits are a bit different from many other countries. Norwegians have their dinner in the early afternoon, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Normal working hours in Norway are 37.5 hours a week, or 7.5 hours a day. Norwegian employees have a right to five weeks paid holiday a year. Normal pensionable age in Norway is 67 years.  You are automatically a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme from the day you are born. This is a compulsory social security and pensions system giving you the right to sickness benefit, medical care, unemployment benefit, maternity benefit, rehabilitation money, disability pension, survivor pension or retirement pension. In rough terms, the National Insurance Scheme is based on a system where each individual pay as much as they can and receive as much as they need.


Houses for sale
There are several estate agents in Haugesund and a lot of properties and houses and apartments to buy or rent. The estate companies are private and not a part of the municipality service.


The municipality in Haugesund has a separate company to handle all the garbage in the district. The company is called HIM (Haugaland Interkommunale Miljøverk IKS). You find more information how to handle your garbage at HIM's website >>>


Accomodation in Haugesund

You will find a wide range of accommodation available in the region. If you would like to experience the tempo of Haugesund centre, we can recommend several excellent accommodation locations. The camping sites have good possibilities for many activities, while the small island communities with their hotels and guesthouses provide peace and silence. There is also a good choice of cabins where one can awaken to the scent of fresh mountain air or the salty sea. For those of you looking for an alternative, the region also features farmhouse and lighthouse accommodation.


Job Welfare / Unemployment Benefits
If you loose your job and want to claim financial support, you need to be a resident (meaning, at least, holding a Residency Permit), have worked for a certain period of time (normally a year in a full time job), earning a certain amount of money and paying tax, before you can claim. Unemployment benefit only entitles you to a percentage of your previous wage and after a year you are cut off unless for good reasons like injury. After a certain period ‘on the dole’ you are required to attend job seeking courses. NAV, the national job centre, can even choose a job for you – cleaner, garbologist, waiter – and you are also expected to up and move anywhere in the country for any job otherwise you can be cut off from unemployment welfare payments. Now all these ‘benefits’ are dependent on your Permit status in Norway and many ‘new-movers’ do not qualify.


Maternity / Paternity Leave
For maternity leave you will need to have worked for a period of time (at least a year) earning a certain amount of money before the birth before you can claim maternity leave benefits. This also applies to paternity benefits. These benefits will be a percentage of your normal taxable income paid by your employer. However, in general, Paternity Benefits are based on the mother’s income which is usually less than the father’s income. ‘New-movers’ who haven’t worked for at least a year or paid tax are not entitled to such benefits. Also, ‘new-movers’ may be in breech of some Permits (because they have stopped work) and will be required to return to their home country. If you have not worked in Norway for at least a year then you cannot claim any maternity or paternity benefits. Also, this benefit is dependant on your Permit status in Norway and many ‘new-movers’ do not qualify.

Having A Baby for Permits and Welfare
I’ve seen some ‘new-movers’ (especially students) think that as soon as they get in the border they will have a baby to help them stay in the country. They think their new born will be a Norwegian citizen. However, this is not the case. Children born in Norway to non-Norwegian citizens do not automatically become Norwegian citizens. They will hold the citizenship of their parents home country. Only when one of the parents is Norwegian can a child be born Norwegian. So this method of having a baby to try to stay in the country and claim benefits is not feasible.

Birth and Child Benefits
All babies born in Norway receive at least kr. 30,000 to be claimed only in the first year, and only if the mother is currently unemployed and has not had employment the previous year. All babies receive just under kr. 1000 a month. If you are a stay-at-home-mum/dad another kr. 3000 or so from 1 years to 3 years is given for home care. This cuts off at 3 years because you are expected to put your child in childcare and you are expected to return to full-time work. These benefits are for all children with parents who hold at least a Residency Permit status. Note: These benefits are for the child and is nowhere near enough to live on. The child’s other parent is expected to work and support the family, or if you are separated, will have to pay child maintenance. The Social Welfare system will support maintenance if the other parent isn’t working but this is very minimal. And of course, these guidelines only apply if the ‘new-mover’s’ Permits allow for such benefits.

Medical Benefits
Medical benefits are granted to all residents of Norway but as a ‘new-mover’ this is conditional on your entry to Norway. Each person is expected to pay up to kr. 2000,- a year in appointments before the ‘free’ Medical Benefits kick in. If you do not have a social number you will have to pay for your own medical fees. To get all the medical benefits you need to be a contributing member of the National Insurance scheme, meaning you earn enough money and have paid tax for at least 12 months. Children and pregnancy related medical appointments are free. Dentistry is not covered under the National Insurance Scheme and usually range between kr. 600-1000,- for general consultations. NOTE: A good amount of people get depression during the dark season and insomnia during the light season. This problem is not really addressed in Norway. Mental health is only recognised if a person has a serious condition such as autism. There is generally no services for anyone to see a therapist for emotional or life issues.

Pension Benefits
The basic Pension Benefits from the government (for retirement) are granted to those who are Settlement Permit/Permanent Permit holders, meaning you permanently live in Norway. (To get a Settlement Permit you must have lived in Norway for three years and attended at least 300 hours of Norwegian Classes.) Norway will only grant a basic pension from the time you have lived in the country. The rest of your pension will need to come from the other countries you have worked/lived in. If you have worked in Norway you will be granted more according to your average wage. The basic pension is similar to a students income. This is one of the reasons many Norwegians retire to Spain to try and stretch their money further. There are so many Norwegian retirees there that the prime minister even goes there to campaign. If you want things like a car, good food and a nice place to live you will need to work to add to your basic pension.