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REFUGEE CRISIS

IMMIGRATION

Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop

Hundreds of refugees who had massed at the main train station in the city of Salzburg left on foot on Wednesday in the hope of reaching Germany, a city spokesman said.

Migrants leave Salzburg on foot as trains stop
Refugees at Salzburg station. Photo: ORF/Garzuly

One day after Salzburg warned that the station might have to close due to the large numbers of migrants, government spokesman Johannes Greifeneder said the situation had “relaxed”.

“The situation was much more tense this morning. We informed people using flyers written in Arabic that there would be no train service to Germany,” he told AFP.

“We have offered shelter to people but they have refused,” he said. “My guess is that they will try to cross the border on foot.”

The situation escalated this week after Berlin reintroduced border controls at the weekend, temporarily suspending all trains between Austria and Germany.

Although an intermittent service has resumed, it has slowed the passage of thousands from Austria into Germany, causing major road and rail disruption.

Greifeneder said another train from Vienna was to arrive imminently, with another 250 migrants on board.

Late on Tuesday, the state of Salzburg warned that it could close the main train station as a safety measure due to the large numbers of people inside.

Hundreds of migrants were brought to the station on Tuesday afternoon in buses, cars and taxis, mostly from the eastern border with Hungary.

Tens of thousands have entered Austria from Hungary in recent weeks, all but a handful travelling onwards to Germany by train, and mostly to Munich via Salzburg.

But Germany's move to tighten its borders created something of a bottleneck, with around 20,000 migrants stuck in Austria on Monday.

On Tuesday, Austria also tightened checks at the Hungarian border.

Situated in western Austria, Salzburg is a popular tourist destination which is best known abroad for the Sound of Music film and for being Mozart's birthplace.

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IMMIGRATION

Tell us: What was your experience like dealing with Vienna’s MA35?

The office for immigration and citizenship in Vienna is for many immigrants their first encounter with Austrian bureaucracy. We want to hear from you about your own experience dealing with officials and the process.

Tell us: What was your experience like dealing with Vienna's MA35?

Vienna’s MA35 is a well-known office for immigrants in Austria, particularly those who live in the capital. It has received plenty of criticism for long delays, mistakes and even mistreatment of those seeking services from renewing a visa to applying for Austrian citizenship.

Yet, it is an integral part of life for immigrants and their family members, as the office is responsible for residence permits (from visas to the Anmeldebescheiningung for EU citizens), naturalisation applications and more. In short: there is no escaping it.

So, we want to hear from you: What has been your experience and importantly do you have any advice for others?

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