IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Data shows that more than a quarter of Austria's population has a 'migration background'. Which nationalities are most common?

IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Austria’s population is growing, which is necessary for economic growth and maintaining the social system that is such a vital part of the country.

However, the only reason the country keeps growing is because of immigration, according to the statistics institute Statistik Austria.

“Austria’s population is growing solely due to immigration. Without it, according to the population forecast, the number of inhabitants would fall back to the level of the 1950s in the long term”, says Statistik Austria’s director general Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: Could Austria change the rules around citizenship?

Since 2015, the share of the population with a “migration background” has risen continuously from 21.4 percent to 25.4 percent, the institute stated. As Austria has about 8.8 million people, this means 2.24 million people have a migration background in the country.

For the survey, Statistik considered people with a “migration background” to be those whose parents were both born abroad, regardless of their own nationality or place of birth. Persons with one parent born in Austria do not have a “migration background” according to this definition.

And while German is still the most common nationality among foreigners in Austria (218,347 people), much has changed since 2015 (when there were 170,475 Germans).

The number of Romanians has almost doubled (from 73,374 to 140,454), bringing them to the second-largest foreigner community in Austria, behind German citizens.

READ ALSO: Why has naturalisation in Austria doubled in 2022 – and who are the new citizens

In 2015, Turkish was the second-largest foreign nationality in Austria (there were 115,433), but they are now the fourth (with 117,944 people), behind German, Romanian, and Serbians (121,643).

Numbers of Ukrainians, Syrians, and Afghanis are soaring

The data shows that the most significant jump in the number of foreigners is from those countries with a recent history of conflicts.

For example, in 2015, there were 11,255 people with Syrian nationality living in Austria, and the number soared to 70,901 in April 2022, almost five times more people.

In early 2015, Austria had 16,779 Afghani residents, a number that jumped 170 percent to 45,394.

READ ALSO: Ukrainian refugees push Austria’s population past nine million

When it comes to Ukrainians, the phenomenon is more recent, and the numbers show that.

While in 2015, there were 8,582 people with Ukrainian nationality living in Austria, on January 1st 2022, that number went to 12,673. And just three months later, after the Russian invasion, it soared to 52,803.

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Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Naturalisation processes may be on the rise in Austria, but citizenship is still hard to get, and any mistake could mean you miss out on the opportunity. Here's what you need to know.

Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?

Becoming a citizen of another country is a big decision, especially in a country with many requirements, rules and fees like Austria. For example, in order to apply for naturalisation, you need to have lived in Austria for at least six years (or up to ten in some cases) and must meet another range of criteria.

The requirements fall into several broad categories, one of which is that you must have no criminal convictions and there are no pending proceedings against you.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who is entitled to Austrian citizenship by descent and how to apply for it?

Additionally, people who have received one or more administrative penalties in Austria are also barred from applying for at least five years if at least one of those penalties incurred fines of more than €1,000.

Administrative violations include drinking and driving, running a red light or stop sign and, yes, speeding. If your speeding fine totalled more than €1,000, – meaning you have likely been well beyond the speed limit – you need to pay it and wait five years before applying for citizenship. 

How high are speeding fines in Austria?

There are no specific amounts that people need to pay for each offence. Instead, the law stipulates a range, and a judge will decide on a case by case basis.

Exceeding the maximum speed limit will result in a fine from €300 to €5,000 with the amount depending on aggravating factors such as how far above the speed limit the driver was and whether they had previous speeding offences.

READ ALSO: Does Austria have a street car racing problem?

Other offences that can lead to fines of more than €1,000 include driving with an alcohol content above the limit, driving in dangerous conditions such as by participating in illegal street races, failing to stop to provide assistance after a traffic accident and others. 

Other requirements

Being “blameless” is just one requirement for naturalisation in Austria. The applicant must also prove that they speak German to an adequate degree and that they are integrated (they need to show a German certificate and pass a citizenship test).

Additionally, you are barred from applying for citizenship if you have received minimum income support for more than 36 months within the last six years. 

You (or your partner) also need to have a regular income at the moment of application that “sufficiently secures your livelihood”. For a single person living alone, this means your net monthly income minus regular monthly expenses (such as rent and loan payments) needs to be higher than €1,030.49 (2022 numbers).

If the person has one child, the amount goes up to €1,189.49.

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

Those are very high standards in a country where the average net income is €2,161.99 and rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Vienna city centre averages €915. Furthermore, there are also costs to the citizenship process. In the capital, people can expect to pay between €1,200 and €1,500 for the bureaucracy – not adding values for any translation needed, for example.

Finally, a significant requirement, one that certainly puts off many, is that the person naturalising must give up their original citizenship. This is because Austria will only accept dual citizenship after naturalisation in extremely rare cases.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Do you really have to renounce your original nationality?