Austria’s social system ‘unaffordable without migration’

Austria's social system 'unaffordable without migration'
Sobotka wants a targeted immigration system. Photo: Michael Kranewitter
Austria must encourage immigration in order to be able to afford to maintain its social security system, according to the interior ministry.

Presenting the findings of a report on migration, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Austria needs around 50,000 migrants a year, who will work and pay social insurance.

The problem is that Austria’s population is shrinking, and ageing. The average birth rate of 1.4 children is not enough, according to migration experts. If the population does not grow the risk is that unemployment will increase and social benefits for all Austrians will become unaffordable.

However, Sobotka said that uncontrolled migration can be damaging to society and therefore he wants to set up a migration commission at the beginning of 2017 to come up with a strategy for controlled immigration.

The commission, headed by Heinz Fassmann, will be an advisory body that will work on a “targeted, structured, and qualification-orientated immigration system”.

Austria's social security system covers healthcare, incapacity for work, maternity benefits, unemployment benefits, old age, and nursing care among other things.