Thousands of foreigners working in Norway on a temporary basis are likely to be called in for new identity checks and must obtain a new skattekort, the almighty tax card needed in order to legally be paid for services rendered. None of the personal ID numbers they’ve been given will be categorized as having been approved.
It’s all part of a state crackdown on false identification and possible tax fraud, following a series of articles in newspaper Aftenposten last year that described how easy it could be to obtain tax cards and ID numbers in Norway.
Both are needed to open a bank account, register a company or receive wages from other companies. Several public agencies, banks and insurance companies have been able to issue so-called “D-numbers” (the ID numbers used by temporary foreign workers). Many, however, haven’t thoroughly checked the identities of those applying for the numbers.
Tax authorities uncovered at least 500 fraudulent cases last year, many involving temporary workers from Albania who were using false Italian, Greek and Belgian passports. False identity documents from countries within the European area known as “Schengen” — which includes Norway, although Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU) — have made it easier to illegally obtain work in Norway, since residents of Schengen countries automatically are entitled to take jobs in Norway.
Around 94,000 “D-numbers” were issued last year alone. Among those using false IDs to obtain work in Norway was so-called “Simone Parisi,” who fraudulently claimed he was from Italy and even managed to obtain construction jobs at crime agency Kripos, at a police station in Sandvika and at the residence of the prime minister, according to Aftenposten.
The new demands for ID checks “are among several measures” being taken in the wake of the fraud uncovered last year, Harald Hammer of the state tax office (Skattedirektoratet) told Aftenposten.
“We don’t know who may have received approved ID numbers on the basis of fraudulent information,” Hammer said. “We want to be on the safe side.”