7000 granted asylum in Austria in 2014

Around 7,000 people were granted asylum in Austria last year, according to figures from the new federal office for asylum seekers (BFA).

The BFA was set up in January 2014 and received a total of 28,027 asylum applications in its first year, over 10,000 more than in 2013. This was due to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

“39 percent of asylum applications were recognised,” BFA director Wolfgang Taucher said. 7,266 asylum seekers lost their right of residence, 1,619 people were deported and almost as many were transferred to the first EU country they arrived in, in accordance with the Dublin II Regulation.

Syrians made up the largest number of asylum seekers, with 7,754, and many of those were granted asylum under the UN Refugee Convention. The second highest number was from Afghanistan, with 5,070. Taucher said many of the Afghan cases were more complicated and some applicants were sent back. 1,996 applications came from Russia, primarily from Chechens.

Some asylum seekers were granted a temporary stay in Austria for "subsidiary protection" and some were given a residence permit for "extenuating reasons".

Austria’s Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) has said she wants to introduce a ‘fast-track scheme’ where certain asylum cases would be completed within ten days.

This would mean that if an asylum seeker’s application is rejected, but he wants to appeal the decision, he would still have to leave Austria. She said this would generally apply to refugees from so-called ‘safe’ countries of origin (including Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania) who are “increasingly blocking the system” and “slowing the process for real war refugees”.

Refugees with fake travel documents and those deemed to pose a “threat to national security or public order” could also be fast-tracked, she said.

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