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

Introduction programme for immigrants


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Key figures

27 067

participants in introduction programme for immigrants in 2018

Participants by age and sex
Total27 06715 95511 11258.941.1
18-25 years7 1704 6642 50665.035.0
26-35 years11 5476 5574 99056.843.2
36-45 years5 9443 2782 66655.144.9
46-55 years2 1431 28086359.740.3
56 years or older2621768667.232.8

See selected tables from this statistics

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
Total27 06715 95511 1121005941
Of this:
Syria13 6878 5035 1841006238
Eritrea5 7743 5812 1931006238
Somalia1 3014478541003466
Sudan1 1767444321006337
Saudi Arabia14083571005941

Table 2 
Participants of introduction programme, sex and selected municipalities

Participants of introduction programme, sex and selected municipalities
Participants (persons)Participants (per cents)
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
Total:27 06715 95511 1121005941
Of this:
0101 Halden12271511005842
0104 Moss13578571005842
0105 Sarpsborg17196751005644
0106 Fredrikstad3361851511005545
0213 Ski16192691005743
0217 Oppegård11579361006931
0219 Bærum4772881891006040
0220 Asker241159821006634
0228 Rælingen8245371005545
0230 Lørenskog11775421006436
0231 Skedsmo2461281181005248
0235 Ullensaker12770571005545
0301 Oslo municipality2 0111 2287831006139
0402 Kongsvinger9458361006238
0403 Hamar12669571005545
0412 Ringsaker11458561005149
0417 Stange10260421005941
0427 Elverum9752451005446
0501 Lillehammer11671451006139
0502 Gjøvik200103971005249
0533 Lunner8956331006337
0534 Gran10772351006733
0602 Drammen3081761321005743
0604 Kongsberg12776511006040
0605 Ringerike192120721006338
0625 Nedre Eiker11069411006337
0626 Lier12871571005545
0627 Røyken9457371006139
0701 Horten15994651005941
0704 Tønsberg247148991006040
0712 Larvik218124941005743
0710 Sandefjord3071851221006040
0729 Færder179119601006634
0805 Porsgrunn179109701006139
0806 Skien2461321141005446
0807 Notodden8850381005743
0814 Bamble8549361005842
0815 Kragerø10264381006337
0904 Grimstad17597781005545
0906 Arendal2941831111006238
1001 Kristiansand6383942441006238
1002 Mandal15998611006238
1004 Flekkefjord11570451006139
1014 Vennesla15289631005941
1101 Eigersund7647291006238
1102 Sandnes3081851231006040
1103 Stavanger5993422571005743
1106 Haugesund227136911006040
1119 Hå9649471005149
1127 Randaberg10964451005941
1130 Strand11166451005941
1149 Karmøy12667591005347
1201 Bergen1 0686783901006337
1235 Voss11265471005842
1246 Fjell8745421005248
1401 Flora12778491006139
1420 Sogndal11060501005545
1502 Molde2441261181005248
1504 Ålesund17489851005149
1505 Kristiansund13887511006337
5001 Trondheim8965333631005941
5028 Melhus10777301007228
5004 Steinkjer15098521006535
5005 Namsos9151401005644
5035 Stjørdal11159521005347
5037 Levanger13281511006139
5038 Verdal7839391005050
1804 Bodø2801691111006040
1833 Rana10965441006040
1860 Vestvågøy9861371006238
1865 Vågan12480441006535
1902 Tromsø4362381981005545
1903 Harstad - Hárstták171101701005941
1931 Lenvik11164471005842
2003 Vadsø10456481005446
2004 Hammerfest7945341005743

Table 3 
Participants of introduction programme by sex an measures

Participants of introduction programme by sex an measures
Participants (persons)Participants (Per cent)
Both sexesMalesFemalesBoth sexesMalesFemales
Participants, total27 06715 95511 112100100100
Norwegian language training with social studies23 16313 3859 778868488
Language in practice4 2842 5521 732161616
Approval of education17511758111
Work (in public sector, from 2011 also private sector)1 3571 071286573
Work practice5 3863 6071 779202316
Occupational approval...000
Course organized by municipality/state...000
Primary and lower secondary school6 3423 9962 346232521
Upper secondary education2 6441 93770710126
Labour market courses7394962432.73.12.2
Occupational courses organized by others1 7521 1665866.57.35.3
Measures that promote health / physical activities2 8261 5951 23110.410.011.1
Measures that promote social networking4 7632 6132 15017.616.419.3
Messures not registered1 0806304504.02.31.7
Other16 0889 4676 621595960

About the statistics

The statistics include content in the introduction programme and encompass recipients of introductory benefit. From 2017, data is also included on participants’ status immediately upon completion of the programme, including 2016 status in the programme at the end of the year. The figures for previous participants include those who have completed or dropped out of the programme, as well as status in relation to employment and education for a five-year period after the programme.


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.

Ending reasons

When a participant finishes the introductory program, detailed reasons for ending the programme are recorded in NIR. The statistics use the following categorization of ending reasons: work, high school and higher education, elementary school, public-sector qualification measures, social assistance, other benefits and relocation.

 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 Population 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 participant of the introduction programme in the municipalities. The statistics include all who are registered as participants in the current year, and include information about the participant'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 ending reasons/status, 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


From 2017, statistics on participants in the introduction programme are based on data from the National
Introduction Register (NIR) of the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi). More information about NIR: https://www.imdi.no/nir-og-bosetting/nir/

In addition, information about the municipalities' reporting of payment of introduction benefit is obtained from A-meldingen (https://www.altinn.no/a-ordningen/).

Until 2016 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

The statistics of former participants are based on KOSTRA information for all years, up to and including those who completed the introductory program in 2016.

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