What If... Moving abroad for work is a reality but many fail to properly prepare not only for the stay abroad but also for their return
Moving abroad for work is a reality for an increasing number of Norwegians but experience show that many fail to properly prepare not only for the stay abroad but also for their return to Norway.
With provisions for unemployment, pension, disability, sickness and xdeath, the Norwegian social security system is amongst the best in the world. For Norwegians living and working in Norway that is. For many Norwegians working and living abroad, rights change drastically – oftentimes without people realising.
With provisions for unemployment, pension, disability, sickness and death, the Norwegian social security system is amongst the best in the world. For Norwegians living and working in Norway that is. For many Norwegians working and living abroad, rights change drastically – oftentimes without people realising.
“When moving abroad, people are often more concerned with housing allowances, schools, cars and stuff like that and not so much with their social security,” notes Vigdis Haug, Partner and General Manager of ScanRisk, a leading consultancy specialising in employee benefits and global risk management for Norwegian expatriates and third country nationals. “Questions about social security may be boring in comparison but they are the most important questions to ask.”
Insufficient cover Established in 2009, ScanRisk has grown to become one of the leading consultancies for Norwegian individuals living and working abroad and the companies that employ them. As Norwegian companies enter new markets around the world, an increasing number of Norwegian nationals take up employment outside of Norway for a number of years. However, far from everyone are aware of the changes in their social security status that may happen as a result of their overseas employment.
“Nowadays, full expatriate packages where the company still contributes to the employee's National Insurance Scheme are very rare because it represents a relatively high cost for the company,” explains Vigdis Haug. “A lot of companies employ Norwegian nationals on a local contract, which in most cases means that unless the employee has made his or her own provisions, he or she is left with no social security at all.”
Vigdis Haug estimates that only around half of the Norwegian companies employing Norwegian nationals abroad have sufficient insurance policies in place. For example, she says, if a company suffers a terror attack or another unforeseen event, and an employee dies or becomes disabled, it is far from certain that the company insurance will be able to step in as many insurances have special clauses in the event of war or terrorism. It is therefore important that individuals are proactive when it comes to securing their own rights and options.
However, even under less dramatic circumstances many employees are illprepared for their expatriation abroad. “A