Police ‘struggling’ with refugee crisis

Austria’s Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner has warned that police are struggling to cope with the influx of thousands of refugees now crossing the border from Slovenia and that the force urgently needs reinforcements.

Police 'struggling' with refugee crisis
Refugees in Slovenia, en route to Austria. Photo: APA

Police opened up barricades at a refugee camp on the southern Styrian border crossing at Spielfeld on Thursday morning to let hundreds of people through and to prevent injuries, after the situation became chaotic.

2,200 refugees spent the night in Spielfeld but many were impatient to continue their journey onto Vienna or Germany. 

Hundreds of people spent the night outside exposed to the elements, and the Red Cross has said it is putting up heated tents during the day which will be able to accommodate 1,000 refugees.

“Police task forces have been continuously deployed since the beginning of the refugee crisis – our police officers are at breaking point and the situation is unlikely to become more relaxed this year,” Mikl-Leitner told the Kronen Zeitung.

“Austria immediately needs between 1,500 and 2,000 more police,” she said, adding that she is confident that European asylum and integration measures “will take hold in the medium term”, but that the police will “even in this context, face new challenges”.

Currently 28,000 police officers are on duty throughout Austria. In September officers logged 420,000 working hours (including 190,000 hours overtime) working to help cope with the refugee crisis.

Aid workers say they fear for the health of refugees who have been forced to sleep out in the open in worsening conditions, after Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia closed all or parts of their borders, leaving many people stranded and short of vital supplies.


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.

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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.

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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.