Business Region

Visiting address:

City Hall Quarter
Rådhusgata 18 - 2nd floor
4611 Kristiansand

Has assisted over 600 experts in moving to Norway

This spring, Relocation Agder is celebrating a milestone. They have helped over 600 international new employees, and their families, to establish themselves in the region.

After several years of work, Relocation Agder has become experts in Norwegian immigration frameworks and network building. The service consists of the trio Solfrid O'Malley, Neha Sharma and Birthe Helland.

Relocation Agder is part of Business Region Kristiansand, and began as a two-year pilot project. Today, the service has developed into a solid and good support function for companies recruiting expertise from abroad.

- The gap between a signed contract and the first day at work is much larger when a new employee has to move from, for example, India, Brazil or South Africa. This is where we come into the picture. We do not assist with recruitment, but take over as soon as a partner company has secured international talent, explains Team Leader Birthe Helland.

Relocation's list of services is extensive. They handle immigration and registration tasks (preferably related to the Directorate of Immigration, NAV, the Police and the Tax Agency), but also assist with practical aspects such as housing, cars and school/nursery. At the same time, they advise partners in the job search process and organize social gatherings for the internationals from autumn to spring.

- We all go to great lengths to meet the individual needs of "our" families. Our mission is to ensure that their transition to the new everyday life in Norway is as safe and efficient as possible, says Helland.

A kind of anniversary

The University of Agder was the first to request such immigration services in Agder. Like many other HR departments, they had experienced how resource- and time-consuming these processes are. In autumn 2018, they approached Business Region Kristiansand with a request whether it was possible to develop such a service.

Six years later, Relocation Agder has a growing partner portfolio that includes 16 businesses from academia, the public and private sectors.

- Having passed over 600 assignments is incredibly proud for us. It feels like a kind of anniversary, so it is important for us to recognize it and celebrate the growth, says advisor Solfrid O'Malley.

Those of us who have followed the trio long enough can tell you that in many ways they function like a well-oiled machine. At the same time, they also prioritize the more personal and interpersonal dimensions of the job.

- It is the people and their families that this is about. They will create a completely new life. We should all do our part to welcome them once they have decided that this is where they want to live and work, O'Malley continues.

The battle for qualified labour

In order to achieve social goals linked to, among other things, green transition, business development and welfare, we are dependent on asserting ourselves in the international battle for qualified labour. Norwegian nature idyll, access to healthcare and political stability have long been significant selling points in this competition.

At the same time, the internationals, in annual surveys such as Expat Insider, point to several factors that make it more difficult to establish yourself in Norway than elsewhere in the world. Neha Sharma, the leading man in the trio, reveals that she can relate to the challenges of settling in Norway. She herself moved here from Bangalore, India in 2010.

- I understand very well how it feels to not know where to go and what is right. At our welcome meetings, we set aside time to explain as much as we can. We talk about the system, the lifestyle, social norms and work culture. It's fun to be part of a team that works on these things, says Sharma.

The international surveys, as well as the feedback from the business world, show the importance of Relocation Agder for the businesses in Agder.

- There has been a fantastic development and professionalization since we started working with the service in 2018. The over 600 new employees that Relocation has assisted have now become a network of international ambassadors for the region. It shows the importance of this type of work for hosting attractiveness and talent recruitment to Agder, concludes Business Manager in Kristiansand municipality Geir Haugum.

3 on Relocation Agder

"From the start of the collaboration, we have been very satisfied with the services and commitment provided by Relocation Agder. Their combination of professionalism and friendliness is unique!”

Helene Braathen

Personnel and organization director/University of Agder

"Relocation Agder provides impeccable service and expertise for us as an employer, but most importantly for our new employees. They can come to Agder safe in the knowledge that we act fully in accordance with the current regulations and completely in line with our business values."

No'omi-Ann Berge Acosta

HR Manager/ OSM Thome

"Relocation Agder provides fantastic follow-up for our employees and their families, both during application processes and when they have arrived in both Arendal and Oslo. So we are very grateful that they exist and equally for our good cooperation."

Tone Kristin Øverkil

Group People Office Manager/ Norse Atlantic Airways