Federal ESF Integration Directive

The aim of the Federal ESF Integration Directive was especially to integrate young people and young adults with special difficulties entering work or training gradually and sustainably into the labour market or make it possible for them to get a school-eaving certificate.

To this end, this integrated overall concept brought together the successful approaches of the "XENOS - Integration and Diversity" programme, "the Joint ESF/Federal programme on labour market support for individuals with leave to stay and refugees with access to the labour market" and the "IdA - Integration through Exchange" programme and develops them further.
Measures under the integration policy were implemented by cooperative networks with the active involvement of business enterprises and/or public administration in tandem with regional public employment services (job centres/employment agencies) and focused on three priority areas. This brought about sustainable structural improvements to facilitate access to the labour market for the target groups.

The priority areas of the cooperative networks were:

  • Integration, not exclusion (IsA):
    Project providers were free to develop measures tailored to the needs of the target groups within the framework of the defined goal (gradual and sustainable integration of the target group of persons aged 18 to under 35 years into employment or training). This ensured that the funding guidelines leave room for innovative approaches on the part of the local stakeholders. By involving regional public employment services, components of the regular support system were combined with project modules of the IsA priority area to create useful solutions.
    Priority areas included the skill building for unemployed young migrants in close collaboration with responsible persons at the company level. Moreover, 22 of the funded 55 IsA projects aimed at labour market integration of immigrants from other EU Member States who live in particularly affected municipalities.

  • Integration through exchange (IdA):
    IdA supported transnational mobility measures. Aimed at the 18 to under-35s, this priority area helped individuals complete an internship abroad in a European country. Its central component was a two-to-six-month stay abroad (focus on internships), accompanied by individual preparation and follow-up in Germany. Concerted collaboration between regional public employment services and participating businesses ensured the integration of the target group into employment or training in the follow-up phase.
    Programmes similar to IdA programmes were starting in several EU countries and regions. Some of these young people also joined IDA cooperation networks in Germany, facilitating the exchange of ideas. This is the result of the Learning Network on Transnational Mobility Measures for Disadvantaged Youth and Young Adults (TLN Mobility).

  • Integration of asylum seekers and refugees (IvAF):
    This priority area focuses on measures specially directed at the target group of asylum seekers and refugees. No age limit applies and measures involve targeted advice and guidance, company-focussed activation and skills development, as well as placement in work or training. The measures strengthened the offerings of the employment agencies/job centres that often did not reach this target group. At the same time, cooperative networks offered training courses for disseminators in businesses, public administration and job centres/employment agencies to increase willingness to recruit this target group, stabilise employment relationships and improve the quality of labour market support.

Profile of the programme

Target group
  • Young people, young adults
  • Unemployed
  • Migrants, people with a foreign background

In addition, individuals under 35 years with particular difficulty entering employment or training, including the long-term unemployed. Also for persons whose particular difficulty in entering employment or training stems from the uncertainty of their residence status (asylum seekers and refugees).

Number of projects


Implementation period

2014.11.06 - 2021.12.31

  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Funding priority

B: Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination

Additional Information

Web­site of pro­gramme


Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

Referat EF2

53107 Bonn

To the topic

ESF In­te­gra­tionsrichtlin­ie Bund


The film rep­re­sents the three pri­or­i­ty ar­eas of the pro­gramme "ESF-In­te­gra­tionsrichtlin­ie Bund".