Education;Immigration and immigrants;Public sector
introinnv, Introduction programme for immigrants, introduction benefitKOSTRA , Adult education, Education, Immigration and immigrants, Public sector, Education

Introduction programme for immigrants


Next update

Not yet determined

Key figures

24 000

participants in introduction programme for immigrants in 2016

Participants by age and sex
Total23 96114 7029 25961.438.6
18-25 years6 5044 3302 17466.633.4
26-35 years11 0016 6164 38560.139.9
36-45 years4 7102 7002 01057.342.7
46-55 years1 55791764058.941.1
56 years or older1891395073.526.5

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Table 1 
Participants of introduction programme, by country of birth and sex

Participants of introduction programme, by country of birth and sex
Participants (persons)Participants (per cent)
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
Total23 96114 7029 2591006139
Of this:
Eritrea7 0574 8792 1781006931
Ethiopia1 1256015241005347
Somalia3 4301 5771 8531004654
Sudan1 4041 0083961007228
Saudi Arabia11468461006040
Syria7 5045 1642 3401006931

Table 2 
Participants of introduction programme, sex and selected municipalities (100 or more participants)

Participants of introduction programme, sex and selected municipalities (100 or more participants)
Participants (persons)Participants (per cents)
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
Total23 96114 7029 2591006139
Of this:
0105 Sarpsborg168100681006040
0106 Fredrikstad227131961005842
0213 Ski157101561006436
0219 Bærum3802311491006139
0220 Asker15595601006139
0231 Skedsmo2261201061005347
0301 Oslo municipality1 5649306341005941
0403 Hamar10260421005941
0417 Stange11669471005941
0501 Lillehammer16195661005941
0502 Gjøvik15894641005941
0534 Gran12457671004654
0602 Drammen3151961191006238
0604 Kongsberg11079311007228
0605 Ringerike148101471006832
0701 Horten13784531006139
0704 Tønsberg164100641006139
0706 Sandefjord (-2016)15688681005644
0709 Larvik17198731005743
0805 Porsgrunn15182691005446
0806 Skien2511471041005941
0807 Notodden11470441006139
0904 Grimstad179107721006040
0906 Arendal254175791006931
1001 Kristiansand6024041981006733
1002 Mandal12274481006139
1101 Eigersund10670361006634
1102 Sandnes215131841006139
1103 Stavanger3502011491005743
1106 Haugesund202120821005941
1127 Randaberg10467371006436
1130 Strand10570351006733
1149 Karmøy13178531006040
1201 Bergen1 0567123441006733
1420 Sogndal11059511005446
1502 Molde2251161091005248
1504 Ålesund13561741004555
1505 Kristiansund12969601005347
1563 Sunndal12074461006238
1601 Trondheim8465542921006535
1702 Steinkjer14298441006931
1703 Namsos11260521005446
1714 Stjørdal12569561005545
1719 Levanger10863451005842
1721 Verdal10848601004456
1804 Bodø2721381341005149
1865 Vågan12177441006436
1902 Tromsø3532191341006238
1903 Harstad210133771006337
1931 Lenvik11074361006733
2003 Vadsø11862561005347

Table 3 
Participants of introduction programme, by sex and programme status by the end of the year

Participants of introduction programme, by sex and programme status by the end of the year
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
All23 96114 7029 259100100100
Not recorded401822000
Course completed3 8432 0911 752161419
Interupted due to paid work37929188221
Interupted due to relocation1145262001
Interupted due to absence956926000
Maternity leave47910469205
Leave of abcence (other reasons)24687159112
Interupted due to education425265160222
Program not yet completed18 13411 6976 437768070
Interupted due to illness744628000
Interupted due to other reasons1327656111

Table 4 
Participants of introduction programme by sex an measures

Participants of introduction programme by sex an measures
Participants (persons)Participants (Per cent)
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
Total23 96114 7029 259100100100
Norwegian language training with social studies21 58813 2518 337909090
Language in practice7 6594 8142 845323331
Approval of education610428182332
Work (in public sector, from 2011 also private sector)1 4951 097398674
Work practice3 4492 3441 105141612
Occupational approval26319865111
Course organized by municipality/state7 9014 7993 102333334
Primary and lower secondary school4 1802 6431 537171817
Upper secondary education904649255443
Other10 5606 4144 146444445

About the statistics

The statistics encompass recipients of introduction benefit and include information about the content of their introduction programme and their status at the end of the year. Former participants are defined as those who have completed or left the programme. Their status in the labour market and in education is followed over five years.


Definitions of the main concepts and variables


Persons who, during the reference year, were registered by a local authority as a participant on at least one of the courses in the introduction programme.

Former participant

Former participants are persons who have completed the programme or for different reasons have dropped out of the programme in a specified year, and are registered as resident in Norway in November the following year.


The main course in the scheme is Norwegian with social studies. The social studies element is taught in a language that the participant understands.

In addition to ordinary Norwegian language teaching, initiatives outside of traditional classroom teaching are also offered, such as language practice in a workplace. Language practice is an element of the Norwegian training in which the participants have a part-time work placement in order to practice their language skills in an authentic setting.

Initiatives that prepare participants for education or employment include work practice or other initiatives organised by NAV/Aetat, such as vocation testing, computer training etc. Vocation testing is a method of assessing competence that documents both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Immigrants are persons who are born abroad to two foreign-born parents and four foreign grandparents. Immigrants have at some point immigrated to Norway.


Persons whose status is ‘refugee’ in the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s register of refugees, and who have been granted a residence permit in Norway.

Country of birth is mainly the mother’s country of residence when the person was born.

Employment/education is made up of persons who are registered as employed or in education, and those who are registered with a combination of employment and education. Employed persons are defined as those who performed paid work for at least one hour during the reference week, and persons who had such work but were on temporary leave during the reference week due to illness or holiday etc.

Registered unemployed/on initiative is defined as persons who are registered as unemployed with NAV, and persons on ordinary labour market initiatives.

Other or unknown status are part of a collective term for the weakest degree of attachment to the labour market. Other status relates to individuals with a reduced ability to work who are on initiatives organised by NAV, those on long-term sick leave and recipients of social assistance. Unknown status means that they are not registered in any of the available data sources we use in the status reporting for labour market attachment. These individuals are therefore not employed, in education, registered unemployed or participating in labour market initiatives.

Standard classifications

Country background is a person or a person’s mother’s or father’s country of birth. Norway (000) is used as the country background for persons without an immigration background. When both parents are foreign-born, they are most commonly born in the same country. In cases where the parents were born in different countries, the mother’s country of birth is used.

Municipality in this context is the programme participant’s municipality of residence.

Administrative information

Name and topic

Name: Introduction programme for immigrants
Topic: Education

Responsible division

Division for Social Welfare Statistics

Regional level

National and county figures. For municipal figures, see KOSTRA publications.

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


Files at an individual level with data are processed and stored long term.


Background and purpose

The introduction programme and introduction benefit for new immigrants was made compulsory for municipalities from 1 September 2004 under Act no. 80 on an introductory programme and Norwegian language instruction for newly arrived immigrants (Introduction Programme). Before the scheme was made compulsory, an increasing number of municipalities had various forms of trial schemes.

The Introduction Act lays down the right and obligation of newly arrived immigrants to participate in an introduction programme. Immigrant groups are defined in section 2 of the Introduction Act. Participation in the introduction programme entitles individuals to receive an introduction benefit. With effect from 1 September 2005, the Act stipulated the right and/or obligation to participate in 300 hours of Norwegian language training and social studies. From 1 January 2012, the number of hours was increased from 300 to 600 for immigrants who were granted a residence permit after that date. Immigrants who are entitled to 600 hours of Norwegian language training and social studies can, if necessary, have the hours of training in Norwegian increased up to a total of 2 400. Immigrants entitled to 300 hours can, if necessary, have the hours increased up to a total of 2 700. The introduction programme must be completed within 5 years, not including any leave of absence taken by the participant. The purpose of the Introduction Act is to strengthen immigrants’ potential to participate in the labour market and society, and to facilitate their financial independence. The right and obligation to participate in the introduction programme applies to newly arrived foreign nationals with refugee-related backgrounds aged between 18 and 55, who lack basic qualifications. The introduction programme will be tailored to the individual’s qualification needs and will generally last up to two years. The programme may in special cases take up to three years. The aim of the introduction programme is to give new immigrants basic skills in Norwegian, a basic insight into Norwegian society and to prepare them for participation in the labour market and/or education.

Difference between social assistance and introduction benefit

Social assistance is given when other private and public resources are insufficient. Social assistance is intended to be a short-term benefit. An important condition for payout is therefore that all other solutions have been tried before social assistance is paid. The legislation on social assistance is aimed at two areas: income security and rehabilitation. Social assistance payments are based on a discretionary assessment and are calculated in relation to the income of the applicant and the total income of the family, as well as whether others are financially dependent on the applicant and what expenses the payout should cover. Social assistance is normally given in the form of a cash handout, but in special cases may be given in the form of loans or requisitions. Social services may also in special cases provide financial assistance to people who need it in order to overcome or adapt to a difficult situation, where the conditions for social assistance are not otherwise met.

The introduction benefit, however, is an individual benefit paid to newly arrived foreign nationals with refugee-related backgrounds aged between 18 and 55 years, who lack basic qualifications. The programme will generally take two years, and the content should be individually adapted and include Norwegian language training, social studies and initiatives to prepare participants to go into education or employment. The introduction benefit is the remuneration that participants on the introduction programme receive from the local authority to cover living expenses during the programme period. On a year-to-year basis, the benefit is equivalent to two times the basic national insurance amount (2 G). Participants under 25 years receive two thirds of the benefit. This benefit is taxable, and if the participant is absent from the training or initiative without a valid reason their benefit will be reduced by the relevant number of hours. The benefit is equal for everyone and is not means tested. This means that it will not be reduced upon receipt of child allowance, cash benefit for young children and so on. National insurance payouts such as sick pay and unemployment benefit are nevertheless capped.

Users and applications

Users of the statistics include the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (until 16 December 2015: Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion), Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi), KS (the municipal sector’s association), municipalities, researchers, students and the media. Statistics based on KOSTRA data aim to provide management information on local authorities and county authorities, for use by the population and media, local authorities and central government bodies. 

Equal treatment of users

Not relevant

Coherence with other statistics

KOSTRA – Municipality-State-Reporting – main page: http://www.ssb.no/emner/00/00/20/kostra/

Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents: http://www.ssb.no/emner/02/01/10/innvbef/

Population statistics. Refugees: http://www.ssb.no/emner/02/01/10/flyktninger/

Legal authority

Statistics Norway has retrieved the information about the introduction scheme from Act no. 80 on an introductory programme and Norwegian language instruction for newly arrived immigrants (Introduction Programme). Pursuant to section 2-2 of the Statistics Act of 16 June 1989, Statistics Norway will compile official statistics.

EEA reference

Not relevant



Not relevant

Data sources and sampling

The statistics are based on introduction scheme participants who are registered on KOSTRA form 11B. The files are then linked to population files of 31 December from the reporting year.

Full count, i.e. all municipalities running the scheme should report to Statistics Norway.

Former participants

For former participants, the information is compared with the System for personal data, where information from a number of registers is collated. Register data has a reference date in November each year and contains information about whether a person is employed, registered unemployed, on an employment initiative, in education, or is in receipt of specific types of government benefits or measures. A person may on the reference date have more than one status at the same time, for example where they are both in employment and receiving benefit. This article has looked at how many people are active, and we have examined the activities of employment and education in addition to the combination of these. The following prioritisation was made: if a person is registered as unemployed, but is also in education, they are considered to be in education and not unemployed. As regards the other statuses, such as health-related benefits and social assistance, there are many who have these in combination with, for example, employment, education or registered unemployment. In such cases, work and other activities, as well as registered unemployment, are prioritised.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

Data is collected from the municipalities through the KOSTRA reporting. Most municipalities have their own business systems from which data is retrieved, while some municipalities report using an electronic form. After preliminary publication on 15 March, municipalities receive summary tables and error lists for their respective municipalities and provide feedback on these. Revised figures are published in KOSTRA on 15 June. Furthermore, all participants with a valid personal identification number are linked to population files of 31 December at the end of the reporting year. Only persons who are resident in Norway at the end of the year are included in the statistics.

Checks are performed on personal identification numbers, in addition to logical value verification. In addition to the checks carried out in the Central Population Register, Statistics Norway also performs checks for statistical purposes.

Former participants, leaving cohort

In order for former participants to be assigned a leaving cohort, the following processing is done: (a) All participants on the introduction programme whose status in KOSTRA is ‘completed’ or ‘dropped out’ at the end of the year, are initially included in the population. (b) Only those who have actually completed the course, i.e. who are not just on temporary leave from the programme, are included in the cohort. The population is therefore checked against those who participated in the programme the following year. (c) Women who drop out of the programme because they are having children right after dropping out of the programme or who for various reasons do not return to the programme after leave, are added to the next cohort. Thus, they are only included in the statistics once they have had a year’s leave for child care.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


Figures are not shown where there are fewer than four units.

Comparability over time and space

2006 was the first year that the statistics were published.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Errors in connection with the collection and processing of data can occur. There may be coding errors, revision errors, or errors in the electronic data processing etc. Extensive efforts are made to minimise such errors. Thus, they can normally be disregarded in a statistical context.

There should in principle be no sampling errors as this is a full count.


Not relevant