Refugee Crisis

Refugees must take ‘Austrian values’ course

Refugees must take 'Austrian values' course
Refugees in Spielfeld, Styria. Photo: APA
Austria’s minister for foreign affairs and integration, Sebastian Kurz, will present a 50 point integration plan for recognised refugees next week - which will include a special course to teach them “Austrian values”.

The government has said that it expects 85,000 asylum requests this year. To date, there have been 63,000, with as many as 500 per day last week.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 people are expected to be granted asylum this year, and of these one in two is expected to apply to bring family members to Austria. Kurz has said he expects the number of positive asylum decisions to rise to around 40,000 next year.

Kurz has said that every recognised refugee will be given a personalized integration plan which will include access to German language courses, a five week course to determine a refugee’s skills and abilities with the aim of finding them work, and a compulsory eight hour “values” course which will discuss issues such as the rule of law, democratic values and equal rights for men and women.

The values course will also cover compulsory education, waste disposal and recycling, as well as rules regarding times when you shouldn’t disturb your neighbours with noise (between 10pm and 6am).

“These people arriving in our country are not bad people, but they have different values than us, and may not be familiar with our values. It is our job and our duty to familiarize them with our values,” Kurz said.  

According to government figures, 76 percent of current refugee applications are from men. 70 percent of refugees and migrants are aged between 16 and 46 years old – and 25 percent are younger than 16.

An initial 23,000 people are expected to be enrolled in the values course, which will be financed by a special integration fund.

The majority of people claiming asylum in Austria are from Syria, followed by Afghanistan and then Iraq.