WE - Networks integrating refugees into the regional labour market

The "WE - Networks integrating refugees into the regional labour market" programme (henceforth referred to as the "WE programme") aims to accommodate the specific needs of refugees regarding their participation in the labour market in Germany. This target group includes refugees with a temporary residence permit, persons with temporary permission to stay for the duration of their asylum procedure and persons, whose deportation has been temporarily suspended but who are not subject to an absolute ban on working. Temporary work bans do not matter.

Within the programme, persons with impairments or disabilities as well as those with secondary diseases specific to their forced migration will be considered specifically.

The aims of the programme are:
1. Measures tailored to the participants

  • to integrate the target group into the labour market with the aim of starting lasting employment and/or training step by step; (re-)starting schooling with the goal of graduating; support in transitioning from school to work;
  • taking early action to maintain, increase and restore the employability of the target group.

This includes, for instance, labour market-related advice and counselling and career guidance that accommodates the special circumstances of the target group, support in accessing benefits from the regular support system, if needed individually required skill building measures, job placement, training or school education and company-focused consulting.

This part of the programme specially focuses on long-term support and counselling of participants, even after taking up a job or training. This preventive approach is also designed to avoid drop-outs and to ensure lasting labour market integration. A holistic approach including other family members in the counselling is also an option.

2. Structural measures

  • for public administration institutions, businesses and other entities in contact with the target group, with the aim of structurally improving the target group’s access to work or training and education.

This includes, for instance, holding information events, awareness-raising measures and training for public administration institutions, businesses and other entities in contact with the target group. Regional cooperation with businesses and vocational schools will be promoted as well, with WE counsellors acting as contact persons for the entire labour market integration process for questions relating to the employment or training relationship and the participants´ transition from school to work, as well as networking activities with relevant actors and institutions.

Funding is provided for project- or cooperation networks where relevant stakeholders are involved in the project work as cooperation or sub-project partners. In addition to the obligatory cooperation with job centres and/or employment agencies, these include non-governmental organizations such as refugee aid organisations, migration counselling centres, migrant self-help organisations, educational institutions, local authorities, public institutions, businesses, chambers of commerce and others.

In addition to the funding of local networks, the WE programme will also fund a nationwide and low-threshold online pilot project for contacting target groups and providing initial information and counselling on WE-relevant topics on social media. This online pilot project is designed to reach those members of the target group that cannot be adequately reached by the local support provided by the WE programme.

The online pilot projects and locally based projects will share their experiences to encourage networking and the interlocking of the two project forms.

The WE programme is the successor programme to the former focal point "Integration of asylum seekers and refugees (IvAF)" from the ESF Integration Directive of the Federal Government from the ESF funding period 2014-2020.

Profile of the programme

Target group
  • Migrants, people with a foreign background

Refugees with a residence permit, persons with a residence permit and persons with a toleration who are not subject to an absolute ban on working; temporary work bans are harmless.

Implementation period

2022.10.01 - 2028.12.31

  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Funding priority

2: Promoting social inclusion and fighting poverty

Additional Information

Web­page of pro­gramme


Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

Referat EF2
53107 Bonn

Anne Lutz
Tel.: 030 18 527-6675

Leon Seikat

Tel.: 030 18 527-4012