Introduction programme for immigrants

Updated: 25 January 2023

Next update: 28 June 2023

Working or studying one year after the introduction programme
Working or studying one year after the introduction programme

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.


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.


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

Mainly the mother’s country of residence when a person was born.


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

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.

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.

Name: Introduction programme for immigrants
Topic: Education

28 June 2023

Division for Population Statistics

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


Not relevant

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

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 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.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Statistics Norway has retrieved the information about participation in the introduction scheme from the Introduction Act. Pursuant to section 10 of the Statistics Act Statistics Norway will compile official statistics from data received.

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.


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).

In addition, information about the municipalities' reporting of payment of introduction benefit is obtained from the A-melding.

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.

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.

Not relevant

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

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

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

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