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An Expat Talks about Moving to Skei i Jolster, Norway

Submitted by Jonty


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Skei i Jolster

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I brought everything with me and should never have come but here goes: I should have brought a never ending supply of salt 'n' vinegar crisps, branston pickle and sarsons vinegar and should have left at home me, my passport and my career.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Extremely pretty, very little work, basic infrastructure, no crime, in my case, the best neighbour in the world, probably. Move here if independently wealthy but it's impossible to predict how you will be "digested" by the Norwegian state until you get here and it's too late. There is a woman who works at the local tax office who is a demon! She has achieved things on her own for me that have defeated the rest of the Norwegian system.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I live in a huge former old peoples' home except I don't live in it. There's no work for me near the house and I don't live in Norway though I work there and pay tax there. 22 years in Norway and I've had a residence permit for about 9 months.

Most expats in the area? Most live in "normal" houses. I didn't have much choice.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

My ex Norwegian girlfriend suggested it was a good idea

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

I've never owned a house in the UK, just a holiday home. My house in Jolster is classed as a holiday home as well but it would be unfair to compare them. I'm quite certain my housing costs are massive compared to the UK. I'd estimate you need four times your UK salary to have the same standard of living in Norway. 38% will go in tax. Staple foods are twice the price. Winters are long and cold and much water is frozen driving up the price of hydro electricity. If you put a value on the time you will have to spend working out if you live in Norway or the UK, dealing with residency and citizen issues, translating documents, dealing with legacy issues from the UK that are hard to resolve until residency and citizenship issues in Norway have been settled (in my case, not settled after 22 years) you need to earn 6 times the UK salary and forget having the time to take a holiday (which would invalidate any claims you might have to living in Norway anyway)

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Comments about this Report

Jun 20, 2011 16:06

Hi Jonty ! Don't you think that the problem of your living in Skei i Jolster is the same if you live on the countryside, nothing to do with the people there ? Pascale

Jun 22, 2011 23:24

Did I say there was a problem with the people in Jolster? Where? Some of the greatest people alive live here. Are you referring to my comment on the lady wotking in the tax office being a "demon"? The line after that shows it's meant as a compliment. Never heard similar phrases before like "he's a demon in the kitchen" "she's a demon ar fixing computer problems". A British man, living in the British countryside can, if there is no work locally, take a job on a boat between Newcastle and Bergen without affecting his residency. A British man living in Skei i Jolster can't do the same. A Norwegian can go and work for a night in Sweden and still live in Norway. A British person jeopardises their residency status.

Jun 22, 2011 23:34

Pascale, I'm trying to find where I criticise the people in Jolster in this. Where is it?

Jun 24, 2011 16:45

Your responses were so brutally honest that I had to write you. I suggest - and I mean no harm and in the most serious tone possible - that you forget Norway and move back to UK. Anything has got to be better than this; I'm not sure if you're aware of this but you sound really REALLY unhappy. Life's too short for that. Call Norway a terrible experience (for you) and go find your bliss. Good luck!

Jun 25, 2011 04:14

Thank you all for your comments BUT I have a son in Norway who's 12. He won't be able to travel happily to the UK to see me on his own for some time simply because he'd need to get to a local airport, fly to Oslo, get through immigration etc., then to the UK, through immigration there etc. and I don't want to put him through that. I'm being cagey with the information I'm giving out because there are other issues you really wouldn't believe but basically, I have to work MORE away from this house to pay the interest on the tax that was stolen PLUS try and have some dialogue with the tax authorities who say I pay tax in Norway yet I have to run a business in Norway as someone UDI refused to give a residence permit to so filling in the standard tax return is a farce and there are so many ways the laws can be interpreted whatever I put down can be regarded as fraud. Once my son's old enough to travel on his own and I can get the insurance company to decide what's happening regarding the burst pipes from November 2010 that happened when I was away working and Norway decided to have it's coldest November for about 100 years. The house has been on the market for years and it just seems to generate enquiries from scammers who "run investment companies and want to buy the house cash, unseen by meeting in Stockholm"! It's a proper education i can tell you. Without boring you about the finer points of the tax system and my experiences here, foreigners are always going to be "special cases" your average skatteetaten employee will not know how to "digest". I can't even find an accountant that can unravel this mess. They're fine with farmers and subsidies but when I can't even answer the accountant's questions because i get no reply from Norwegian bodies that should have collected £35,000 worth of my tax, I don't even have the information the accountant needs and can't get it if tollogavgiftsdirektoratet won't reply to me or understand what I'm talking about. This is a danger. You can live here for years THINKING everything's order, your tax deductions are being paid and regardless of how UDI change your residency status by first, givingg you a residence permit then not renewing it because they say you don't need one then telling you you're maybe "living" in Norway illegally .... it's unbelievable and the expenses I have for my son living with me don't apply because, I don't live in Norway ... getting the picture. Norwegians qualify for all sorts of benefits. I can't even be ill. People should also be aware they are completely alone in Norway. I had terrible lumbago and saw the inside of a Norwegian hospital for the first time as a patient in 2009 (and was impressed by the way) but I may as well have fallen out of a plane. The staff said "do you have anyone who can bring clothes for you?" to which I answered "no" so I had disposable slippers and a bathroom pack etc.. I was looked after well but wrongly diagnosed. I wasn't given an MRI because there was such a long waiting list so I was given morphine for a couple of days (I think) and then discharged with my things, had to buy food because there was none in the house and caught a couple of buses to get "home" only 40km away. These are general warnings to anyone thinking of moving abroad. You stand a very high chance of finding yourself stranded and alone.

Jun 25, 2011 04:52

I'm not here to "bash" Norway. I'm sure what has happened to me can happen in other places but until you actually move away from your native country, you can't begin to imagine how things might unravel afterwards. Laws that apply once you've bought your house might change two months later. Laws are designed to protect the natives. YOU will not be a NATIVE and some people will use YOU as a pretext for why THEY don't have a job, just as people say the same about foreigners where YOU come from. Don't think just because you're from a "developed" country you'll be immune from this. I now understand the Eastern European immigrants in the UK better. British people complain the foreigners "don't integrate" but how many of them go out of their way to be friendly to foreigners?

Jun 25, 2011 04:58

Again, thank you to all the kind responses from guests. My intention is to leave Norway as soon as all the "loose ends" have been tied up and my son is old enough to choose where he wants to live. He lives with me most of the time I'm not working, LOVES the UK and his English (thanks to FreeSat and the English TV we can get here) is astonishing. There are very many great things about Norway but I'm getting to an age now where I need to work out where I'll be retiring and if, after 22 years, Norway isn't interested in having me as anything more than someone who works in Norway, pays tax in Norway, has a son in Norway and has a house in Norway which they class as a holiday home belonging to someone who doesn't LIVE in Norway, obviously, there's no future here. I AM worried how the Norwegian State will view the selling of my house and on what basis I will be able to get out of Norway with enough money to get a place in the UK. My "house" has never been recognised by the Norwegian State as my "home" as far as I know.

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