• Austria's news in English
Syrian and Iranian refugees 'well educated'
Refugees arriving at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. File photo: Kim Traill

Syrian and Iranian refugees 'well educated'

The Local · 12 Jan 2016, 13:07

Published: 12 Jan 2016 13:07 GMT+01:00

The AMS carried out competency checks on around 900 refugees between August and mid-December last year. The aim was to find out what qualifications they have and how highly trained they are for certain professions.

The results were presented on Tuesday by AMS boss Johannes Kopf and Social Affairs Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer. They show that Syrians and Iranians in particular tend to be university graduates, or have at least graduated from high school.

Afghan refugees tended to be the least qualified. On average, female asylum seekers are better educated than male asylum seekers - but again, it depends on their nationality.

Kopf said that he was particularly "impressed" by the level of education among Syrians and Iranians. Around 90 percent of Iranians who took part in the competency check had completed training and further education after leaving high school. Around 70 percent of Syrians had done the same. Around 40 percent of refugees from Iran and Iraq had university degrees.

The picture was more sobering for Afghan refugees - only a third of whom had completed compulsory education - and around one third had never attended school.

"Decades of war have left clear traces in Afghanistan. People's professional experiences are also lacking because of the country's underdeveloped economy and therefore are often not usable here in Austria," Kopf noted.

Kopf said the likelihood of finding a job in Austria increased with an asylum seeker’s level of education. “But we shouldn’t believe that integration will be easy,” he added. Many refugees speak very little German and don’t have the social networks in Austria which can help them find a job. A large proportion have also been through a traumatic experience.

Last year around 17,300 registered asylum seekers were looking for work. Minister Hundstorfer estimates that during 2016 this number will increase to around 30,000. He said that ensuring refugees were “rapidly integrated” into the labour market would prove to be a major challenge for Austria in the coming weeks and months.

He said that it was important that they should start contributing to the welfare system as soon as possible, and not be discouraged and forced to take illegal, unregistered work.

Story continues below…

A debate has been raging in Austria over whether refugees should be given the same social benefits as unemployed Austrians.

Austria registered 90,000 asylum claims in 2015, a rise of more than 200 percent compared to 28,000 the year before and just 11,000 in 2010.

Afghans topped the list of requests by nationality with 25,202 asylum claims, closely followed by 25,064 fleeing the civil war in Syria and 13,258 Iraqis, data from the Interior Ministry showed.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Captain America inspiration behind Vienna Hyperloop

Anyone who still holds on to their childhood dream of being a superhero will be delighted by the name of the state-of-the-art technology behind a transport system planned for Vienna.

Deadline for overseas Brexit voters looms
Jeff Djevdet/Creative Commons

British people living in Austria who are eligible to vote in the EU referendum have until Tuesday June 7th to apply for a proxy vote.

Gay doctor in Austria fired for arranging illegal surrogacy
AKH. Photo: Medical University of Vienna

A gay doctor who wanted a child with his partner was fired by a hospital in Austria after persuading a fellow doctor to carry their baby, despite surrogacy being illegal in the country.

Facebook on shaky ground after activist's latest victory
Manfred Werner/Wikimedia

Austrian data privacy activist achieves another legal victory in his bid to stop Facebook transferring European citizens’ data to the US.

Turkey deal 'on track' as Austria preps for migrants
The Brenner Pass. Photo: Angela Giuffrida/The Local Italy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday brushed off concerns about a landmark EU-Turkey deal designed to stem the flow of migrants to Europe after critical comments by her Turkish counterpart.

Austrian firm fires CEO after €50-million cyber scam

Austrian aircraft parts maker FACC said Wednesday that it has fired its chief executive of 17 years after cyber criminals stole some €50 million in a so-called "fake president" scam.

Far-right party in Villach files election complaint
Johann Jaritz/Wikimedia

The local branch of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Villach have filed a complaint with the country’s corruption prosecutor over the suspected manipulation of votes in the presidential election.

Salzburg court sides with beggars over police fine
Photo: Caritas

An attempt by Salzburg police to claim saying ‘please, please’ amounted to aggressive begging has failed after four beggars took their case to court and won.

Large roof fire causes traffic chaos in Vienna

Fifteen emergency vehicles and seventy firemen were called out on Tuesday to battle a large roof fire in Vienna that sent smoke across several districts in the city.

FPÖ claims moral victory in defeat
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: FPÖ

Austria's Freedom Party is "stronger than ever" and ready to win the next general election after its candidate narrowly failed to become the European Union's first far-right president, party chief Heinz-Christian Strache said Tuesday.

Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Refugees need practical help
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
What it means to be human
How a town became a green icon
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Let them eat cake!
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Can you spot an Austrian?
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
Lost on the way to sanctuary
jobs available