Education;Immigration and immigrants;Public sector
introinnv, Introduction programme for immigrants, introduction benefitAdult education, Education, KOSTRA , Immigration and immigrants, Public sector, Education

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Introduction programme for immigrants


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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


A person who, during the reference year, was registered by a local authority as a participant on the introduction programme.

Former participant

A former participant is someone who completed the programme or for different reasons dropped out of the programme in a given year, and is registered as resident in Norway in November the following year.

Introduction benefit

The introduction benefit is the benefit that introduction programme participants receive from the local authority to cover subsistence expenses during the period of the programme. The benefit on an annual basis is equal to twice the basic amount of National Insurance (2G). Participants under the age of 25 receive two-thirds of the benefit. The benefit is taxable, and if the participant is absent from training and initiatives without a valid reason, their benefit is reduced for each hour they are not in attendance. Everyone receives the same amount of benefit as it is not means tested. This means that it is not reduced due to child allowance, cash support etc. Nor is the benefit reduced due to income from self-employment or other work, or due to the possession of capital. To the extent that paid work is included in the programme, the benefit is reduced correspondingly for the period that the work is carried out. National insurance benefits, such as sickness benefit and unemployment benefit, are nevertheless reduced accordingly.

Initiatives in the introduction programme

The introduction programme is available for persons in need of basic qualification, and as a minimum must include Norwegian language training, knowledge about society and initiatives that prepare participants for further education/training or the labour market.

In addition to traditional Norwegian language training, initiatives are also offered outside the traditional classroom teaching, such as language practice in a workplace. Language practice is part of the Norwegian language training, where participants are placed in a workplace for part of the week in order to practice their Norwegian skills in an authentic setting.

Initiatives that prepare participants for further education/training or the labour market may entail practice work or other initiatives organised by NAV, vocational training, computer training, lower secondary or upper secondary studies etc. Vocational training is a method of real competence assessment that documents both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Immigrants are persons born abroad to two foreign-born parents and four foreign grandparents. Immigrants have immigrated to Norway at one time or another.

Persons with a refugee background

Persons who have come to Norway seeking refuge, and family members of these groups who came here as part of family reunification. Children born to persons with a refugee background after their parents came to Norway are not included in this category, and neither are asylum seekers.

Country of birth is mainly the mother’s country of residence when a 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, holiday, paid leave 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 labour market attachment. 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. Persons without an immigrant background only have Norway as a country background. When both parents are foreign-born, they are normally 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

Next release

Responsible division

Division for income and living conditions statistics

Regional level

National, county, municipal and district in Oslo for previous participants, and breakdown by industry region. 

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


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


Background and purpose

Act no. 80 of 4 July 2003 on an introduction programme and Norwegian language training for newly arrived immigrants (the Introduction Act) made the introduction programme and introduction benefit mandatory for local authorities as of 1 September 2004. Prior to the programme being made mandatory, a growing number of municipalities had various types of trial schemes.

The purpose of the Introduction Act is to strengthen immigrants’ potential to participate in the labour market and society, and facilitate their financial independence. Section 2 of the Act stipulates who has the right and obligation to participate in the introduction programme. These are persons with a refugee background, family members of these groups who came here as part of family reunification, and persons who have been allowed to stay on an independent basis following a relationship breakdown due to abuse. Furthermore, the person must be between 18 and 55 years old and in need of basic qualification. The introduction programme is adapted to the individual’s needs for qualification and can generally last up to two years. In special cases, the programme may be extended to three years. The aim of the programme is to provide newly arrived immigrants with a refugee background with basic skills in Norwegian, a basic insight into Norwegian society, and to prepare them for participation in the labour market and/or education. Programme participants are entitled to introduction benefit, which, on an annual basis, equals twice the basic amount of the National Insurance. Participants under the age of 25 receive two-thirds of the benefit.

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/offentlig-sektor/kostra

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

Population statistics. Persons with a refugee background: https://www.ssb.no/befolkning/statistikker/innvgrunn/aar-flyktningbakgrunn

Legal authority

Statistics Norway has retrieved the information about participation in the introduction scheme from the Introduction Act. Pursuant to section 2-2 of the Statistics Act of 16 June 1989, Statistics Norway will compile official statistics from data received.


EEA reference

Not relevant




The statistics on participation in the introduction programme include information about each recipient of introduction benefit in the municipalities. The statistics include everyone who received the introduction benefit in the reference year, and include information about the recipient’s gender, age, marital status, start date and end date of participation in the introduction programme, which initiatives they have participated in during the reference year, their status in the programme at the end of the year (completed/dropped out, granted leave or still on the programme), which months they have received the benefit, and the total benefit amount for the year.

Former participants

Information about former participants on the introduction programme includes those who have completed or for various reasons left the programme in a given year. We follow their status in the labour market and in education over the next five years.

Data sources and sampling


The statistics are based on local authorities’ annual submissions of electronic forms and file extractions in relation to participants who are registered on KOSTRA form 11B. The data is then synthesised with the population statistics of 31 December in the reporting year.

Full count, i.e. all local authorities with participants on the programme should report to Statistics Norway.

Former participants

For former participants, the data is further synthesised 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 state 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. One of the aims of these statistics is to examine 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 receive 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 local authorities through the KOSTRA reporting. Most of the local authorities have their own business systems from which data is retrieved, while some report using an electronic form. All participants with a valid personal identification number are linked to population data from 31 December of the reporting year. Only persons who are resident in Norway at the end of the year are included in the statistics. The KOSTRA tables, however, include all participants in the year. 

Checks are performed on personal identification numbers, in addition to logical value verification. In addition to the checks carried out in the National 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; and (c) Women who drop out of the programme because they give birth immediately after dropping out of the programme or who for various reasons do not return to the programme once their leave ends, 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

The statistics were first published in 2006 for the statistics year 2005.

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