Nordic co-operation on integration

Karin Beate Nøsterud/
This co-operation programme is designed to support the Nordic countries’ integration efforts by bolstering Nordic co-operation on the integration of refugees and immigrants through the sharing experiences and development of new knowledge.

In 2015 and 2016, the Nordic countries welcomed an increased number of refugees. As a result, the Nordic countries came together to discuss new co-operation efforts on the integration of refugees and immigrants, with the emphasis on the development of new knowledge and methods to bolster integration.  Since its inception, the focus of the programme has been on meeting the need for exchanging of knowledge and experiences between the ministries on policies, strategies, and initiatives in the field, as well as between the municipalities and civil society stakeholders who are close to the target group in terms of methods, tools, and best practices, which can be transferred from one context to another and quickly applied.

A new programme for 2022 to 2024 builds on the last six years of Nordic experience and results on the integration of refugees and immigrants, with an increased emphasis on education and labour market integration as a lever for the integration of new arrivals in the Nordic Region.

The programme contributes to the following objectives under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ 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.

Among other things, the programme contains the following elements.

Knowledge dissemination

Knowledge about integration in the Nordic Region is collected and disseminated here: This is done in collaboration between two of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ institutions, the Nordic Welfare Centre and Nordregio. Its purpose is to function as an idea bank, the primary focus of which is refugees’ and immigrants’ inclusion in the labour market, as well as to step up the exchange of knowledge between the ministries and authorities, municipalities and civil society in the Nordic countries. Each year, a focus area is chosen which results in a summary of Nordic knowledge, examples to learn from, and knowledge-sharing activities. Expert groups contribute to the development of the project and several ad hoc networks participate with their knowledge within various focus areas.


Civil society stakeholders and researchers can apply for funding to implement projects with an emphasis on the development of new knowledge, methods and forms of co-operation that will bolster the integration of refugees and immigrants in the Nordic Region.

Statistics on integration in the Nordic Region

Coming up


The programme is anchored in the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Department of Knowledge and Welfare. A reference group, with representatives from the Nordic ministries responsible for integration, is linked with the programme. The reference group ensures that the programme activities are in line with the objectives, political priorities and themes which are central to the work of the individual countries’ governments and authorities in this area. A Nordic migrant expert forum has also been established, which contributes to a well-founded and diverse knowledge base for Nordic co-operation on integration (LINK to the page of the expert group).

Nordic Council of Ministers’ action plan for Vision 2030

The action plan describes how the Nordic Council of Ministers will work to achieve the objectives of the vision through a number of initiatives in connection with the vision’s three strategic priorities: A green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. There are twelve objectives linked to the strategic priorities. The strategic priorities and objectives will govern all activities in the Nordic Council of Ministers over the next four years. The action plan is divided into twelve sections linked to the twelve objectives.