• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Coalition parties fight over asylum benefits
Syrian refugees arriving in Austria. File photo: ORF

Coalition parties fight over asylum benefits

The Local · 3 Feb 2016, 11:10

Published: 03 Feb 2016 11:10 GMT+01:00

ÖVP club chairman Reinhold Lopatka said that the “refugee crisis has exacerbated the situation" and put a strain on the social security system, adding that “it’s clear that we need to take action”.

He said that Austria should follow Denmark’s model for social security payments - where immigrants who have resided in Denmark for less than seven of the past eight years get significantly lower benefits than those who have lived there for longer.

Lopatka also wants social security payments to be cut by 25 percent for immigrants who show themselves unwilling to integrate and find a job after one year in Austria, but there would be financial incentives for those who showed themselves willing to work.

The cuts are a way to make Austria a less attractive destination for refugees. “It’s clear that our welfare system is a large ‘pull factor’ for refugees,” Lopatka said. The minimum social security payment for an unemployed single person in Austria is €827 - Bulgaria, in comparison, only pays out a minimum of €416.

Last year Denmark approved cuts to welfare benefits afforded to refugees and other immigrants, which cut the benefits offered to people who have resided in Denmark for less than seven of the past eight years by 45 percent. Foreigners also receive a financial incentive to learn Danish, and receive more money after passing the intermediate Danish language exam.

Story continues below…

Vienna's social democrat mayor Michael Häupl rejected the ÖVP’s proposals - saying they are "unconstitutional" and accusing the ÖVP of wanting to “dismantle the welfare system”. He said that he would not agree to any welfare cuts in Vienna and that recognised asylum seekers have the same legal rights as Austrian citizens.

Upper Austria state is already planning to reduce its welfare benefits for asylum seekers - from €914 to just €320. Federal states have the power to independently cut welfare benefits when they find they can no longer afford to pay the full amount.

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

Today's headlines
Drug offences highest in Austria for a decade
LPD Wien

Austria saw a boom in drug offences last year with narcotics worth around €28 million seized by authorities.

Austrian commits robbery so he can 'start over' in prison
LPD Wien

An Austrian who robbed a fast food restaurant in Vienna told police he did it because he wanted to be jailed so he could have fresh start.

Expert predicts far-right to win Austrian election
Photo: Facebook/Norbert Hofer

Around 15% of Austrian swing voters are still undecided about who they will support in the presidential election re-run, although one expert predicts the far-right candidate will win.

Technical glitch causes chaos in Vienna airport
Photo: Twitter/Judith BK

Nearly 1,000 airline passengers were left stranded last night after a glitch in the IT system at Vienna airport caused huge delays to flights.

Cops nab accomplice in Austrian ‎€50m caper
Disgraced CEO Walter Stephan. Photo: Facebook/FACC

Police in Hong Kong have arrested an alleged accomplice who is believed to be involved in the scam which cost an Austrian aerospace company over 42 million euros.

A taste of Michelangelo in the heart of Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Why go to Rome when the art of the Sistine Chapel can come to you in Vienna? Check out the new exhibition of Michelangelo's timeless frescos at the Votivkirche.

Over 50 cats go missing in Austrian town
Photo: Creative Commons/Pablo Viojo

Animal rescue services suspect there could be a serial cat-napper at work in the Austrian town of Frauenkirchen after more than fifty cats disappear in the region in under two years.

Austrian minister describes Merkel as 'irresponsible'
Photo: Defence Ministry

Austria’s Defence Minister has criticised the German Chancellor’s handling of the refugee crisis last year, accusing her of irresponsibility.

Beach party protest against burqini ban planned in Vienna
Woman wearing "burqini" swimwear in Egypt. Photo: Giorgio Montersino/Wikipedia

Vienna is to join London and Berlin in protesting against the introduction of a burqini ban on beaches in 30 seaside towns in France.

Expert says smuggling is as high as last year in Austria
Refugees arriving at Westbahnhof in Vienna. Photo: Kim Triall.

Human trafficking expert warns last year's refugee truck tragedy could happen again.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Beware these passport scams
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
2,527
jobs available