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Foreign employees that test negative on COVID-19 may work during quarantine

According to an amended regulation, employees from the Schengen and EEA area may now work during quarantine if they test negative on COVID-19.

Schengen and EEA workers may work during quarantine if they test negative on COVID-19.

Foreign employees arriving in Norway must stay in quarantine during the first 10 days after arriving in Norway, unless comprised by other exceptions (e.g. resided and traveling from Nordics excl. Sweden). This normally implies that many foreign employees cannot assume any work before the 10-day quarantine period has past. 

In order to ease the burden for sectors that relies heavily on foreign workers, The Norwegian Government introduced an amended quarantine regulation on 22 June 2020 where employees now may be allowed to work if they test negative on SARS-CoV-2.

Two separate tests required

Two tests are required after arriving in Norway, with a minimum of 48 hours in-between each test, and where the second test at the earliest can be taken at day 5 after arriving in Norway.

The employees must stay in quarantine until the results from the first test is available. If the first test is negative, the employee may work in Norway without quarantine restrictions, but shall stay in quarantine during off-duty/spare time. If the second test also is negative, the employee is fully exempt from all quarantine regulations.

Consequences of a positive test

On the other hand, if the tests results are positive, the person must be isolated and the employer or the Norwegian client must give notice to the local municipal authorities as soon as possible so they can initiate tracking of any possible spread of the infection.

Administration of COVID-19 tests

It is the employer or the Norwegian client that are responsible for organizing, managing and financing of testing, and correspondingly it is up to the employer or the client if such testing scheme shall be offered to foreign employee that are to perform work on their behalf.

Please note that the act relating to control of communicable diseases does as a main rule not allow for testing of asymptomatic individuals without voluntary consent. Testing in order to allow for work during quarantine must therefore as a main rule, be a voluntary offer to the employees.

Testing of asymptomatic individuals without medical grounds are not covered by the public health service, but private health clinics offer SARS-CoV-2 testing (PCR) for individuals without symptoms, with test results available within 24 hours.