Nordic co-operation on integration

Karin Beate Nøsterud/
The Nordic co-operation programme on integration underpins the work done at national level and ensures that the countries work more closely together on the integration of refugees and immigrants. The programme focuses on exchanging information about the lessons that have been learned and on generating new knowledge.

The number of refugees arriving in the Nordic countries rose significantly in 2015/2016. In the wake of that influx, the countries discussed new ways of working together on the integration of refugees and immigrants, with the emphasis on generating knowledge and devising new methods to improve integration.  Since its inception, the programme has focused on meeting the need to exchange knowledge and information about the lessons learned. This work involves the ministries talking about integration policies, strategies and initiatives and local authorities and civil society stakeholders close to the target group talking about methods, tools and rapidly transferable best practices.

A new programme covering 2022–2024 builds on the last six years of Nordic experience and the results achieved. It will focus more closely on education, training and jobs as ways of improving the integration of new arrivals.

The programme will help the Nordic Council of Ministers achieve the following objectives as part of Vision 2030 (LINK to Vision 2030):

Objective 7: Develop competencies and well-functioning labour markets that match the demands of the green transition and digital development, and which support freedom of movement in the Nordic Region.  

Objective 12: Maintain confidence in and the cohesion of the Nordic Region, its shared values and the Nordic sense of affinity, with a focus on culture, democracy, gender equality, inclusion, non-discrimination and freedom of expression.

Programme elements.

Knowledge sharing

Knowledge about integration in the Nordic Region is published on The information is collated by the Nordic Welfare Centre and Nordregio, two of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ institutions. This section of the Welfare Centre’s website functions as an ideas bank. It focuses on the inclusion of refugees and immigrants in the labour market and on exchanging knowledge and information between ministries, official agencies, local authorities and civil society in the Nordic countries. An annual theme culminates in a summary of Nordic knowledge, examples from which to learn and knowledge-sharing activities. Expert groups contribute to the development of the project, and several ad hoc networks provide input on various themes.


Funding is available to civil society stakeholders and researchers for projects designed to generate knowledge, devise methods and draw up new ways of working together that will help integrate refugees and immigrants in the Nordic Region. The Nordic Welfare Centre publishes the deadlines for funding applications on its website.

Statistics on integration in the Nordic Region

The Nordic Council of Ministers has compiled statistics for employment, asylum and country of origin for immigrants in the Nordic Region. (To come) 


The programme is overseen by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Department of Knowledge and Welfare. A reference group has been set up for the programme. It comprises representatives of the Nordic ministries responsible for integration. The remit of the reference group is to make sure that the programme activities are in line with the key objectives, political priorities and themes of the individual national governments and official agencies. The Nordic Migrant Expert Forum has also been set up. Its remit is to provide a solid and diverse knowledge base for co-operation on integration.

Nordic Council of Ministers’ action plan for Vision 2030

The action plan describes how the Nordic Council of Ministers will seek to achieve the objectives set out in the vision by means of initiatives related to its three strategic priorities: A green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. Twelve objectives have been linked to these strategic priorities. These priorities and objectives will govern all of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ work over the next four years. The action plan has twelve sections, each associated with one of the twelve objectives.