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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.

ECONOMY

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.

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