Refugee intake halted at ‘inhumane’ camp

Austria's main refugee processing centre will temporarily halt its intake of asylum seekers at the overcrowded camp, officials said on Friday, after the UN described conditions there as "dangerous and inhumane".

Refugee intake halted at 'inhumane' camp
Asylum seekers sleeping in the grounds of Traiskirchen. Photo: ORF

The centre in Traiskirchen, 20 kilometres south of Vienna, would no longer accept new migrants as of next Wednesday, Lower Austrian governor Erwin Pröll said.

The camp, which is meant to house 1,800 people, currently holds more than twice as many — 4,500 refugees. Nearly half of them do not have a bed.

“Authorities are taking a clear step with this measure to avoid a further influx into the Traiskirchen camp,” Pröll told the press.

He said he had taken the decision after many of the registered migrants had failed to present themselves for a health check-up to assess potential risks of epidemic.

As a result, an “accurate appraisal” of the camp population's general health had not been possible, which represented a risk from a medical point of view.

During a recent visit to the camp, the representative of the UN's refugee agency, Christopher Pinter, described the situation in Traiskirchen as “inadmissible, dangerous and inhumane”.

Human rights group Amnesty International is due to inspect the camp in the coming days.

Austria, a country of 8.5 million people, received more than 28,000 asylum requests in 2014, three times the European average relative to population size.

It expects at least 75,000 asylum seekers to arrive by the end of this year, with a majority coming via Serbia and Hungary.


Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

International business owners in Vienna bring in billions of euros in revenue and taxes each year, according to a recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce.

Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna's economy

New figures show that Vienna’s international entrepreneurs do more than simply boost diversity in Austria’s capital city – they also significantly contribute to the local economy.

The Wirtschaftskammer (Chamber of Commerce) has revealed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs.

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties, reports ORF.

READ MORE: Austrian presidential elections: Why 1.4 million people can’t vote

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, they are also an economic factor.”

Ruck added that more than 200 international companies move to the capital each year and said the diversity is helping Vienna to financially recover from the pandemic. 

The Chamber of Commerce considers a business owner to have a migration background if they were not born in Austria and/or they have a non-Austrian nationality.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

According to ORF, there are 34,000 entrepreneurs in Vienna with a migration background and 7,400 of those business owners have Austrian citizenship.

Additionally, 4,500 business owners have Slovakian nationality, 3,800 are from Romania and 2,600 have German citizenship.

The most popular business sector for people in Vienna with a migration background is retail, followed by real estate and technical services.