• Austria's news in English

Austria 'top country' for asylum seekers

The Local · 28 Jul 2015, 09:59

Published: 28 Jul 2015 09:59 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Peter Webinger, head of the asylum and migration group within the ministry, said that overall there is an “accommodation crisis” across Austria as the country struggles to deal with an influx of asylum seekers. More than 80,000 asylum applications are expected this year, according to experts - up from an earlier estimate of 70,000. This is three times the number of applications Austria received in 2014.

According to statistics from the interior ministry for the past month, Austria now has more asylum applications per capita than any other European country - having overtaken Germany and Sweden. In the first five months of this year it had 20,620 applications - an increase of 183 percent.

Sweden, in contrast, had 22,342 applications which is equal to a decrease of 6.3 percent. Asylum seekers are reportedly starting to shun Sweden because of its long waiting times and cumbersome bureaucracy.

On paper, Hungary has more asylum applications registered per capita than Austria but many refugees are then sent on to another country - the majority to neighbouring Austria.

Germany still continues to have the largest overall number of asylum applications - with around 179,000 refugees having applied for asylum so far this year.

Austria's interior ministry has called the situation an “asylum emergency”, with Webinger saying that only ten out of 28 EU member states are taking 92 percent of all refugees to Europe. He pointed out that Portugal has only taken 455 asylum applications this year, and Slovakia only 300.

The cost of providing basic care for asylum seekers in Austria has also risen, with the interior ministry estimating that this year the amount will be €380 million (double the amount paid in 2013).

Christoph Pinter, the head of the Vienna office of the UNHCR, says that Austria is now one of the main target countries in the EU for asylum seekers arriving in Europe via Greece and travelling through the western Balkans. The largest groups of asylum seekers coming to Austria are Afghans and Syrians.

Austria is known to have a well-functioning and developed asylum system compared to other European countries but the increasing number of asylum applications are a challenge for the small country - particularly when it comes to finding suitable accommodation.

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available