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Vienna’s notorious MA 35 immigration office slashes waiting times

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The Local ([email protected])
Vienna’s notorious MA 35 immigration office slashes waiting times
The Austrian capital Vienna is home to a large number of immigrants. (Photo by Dan V on Unsplash)

The Austrian government office that manages immigration in Vienna – the city’s infamous MA 35 – has cut its wait times for citizenship and residency permits by anywhere from a quarter to a half.

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Halfway to the end of the 2024 deadline for reforming the city's MA 35 immigration office, Vienna reports that waiting times for certain procedures – particularly citizenship applications – have gone down by about six months.

Previously, anyone applying to become Austrian in Vienna was typically waiting for more than a year to see their application processed – after the months it typically takes to assemble all their paperwork.

Overall, immigration procedures such as residence permits have become about 28 percent faster at MA 35 in the last year.

Long delays for foreign residents

As the office that manages all immigration, residency, and citizenship requirements in the capital, going through MA 35 for non-EU foreign residents in Vienna is unavoidable.

Managing 150,000 procedures a year and plagued with long delays and frequent complaints about lost paperwork, city council’s integration committee undertook an effort to resolve all grievances against the office by the end of 2024.

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NGOs and experts involved in the reform say that certain measures – such as mass appointments for some procedures – have contributed to the reduced wait times.

However, experts say its still difficult for people to get in touch with the office – which the Austrian Court of Auditors say had previously ignored calls and emails from people trying to get in touch with them or following up on applications.

Vienna immigration lawyer Julia Ecker told Der Standard newspaper that while certain booking measures have helped reduce wait times, many of the communication issues the office has still remain – and called for them to be improved by the end of 2024 deadline.

"It is annoying that direct communication with the department is still difficult," Ecker told the paper. "And it still leads to considerable delays."

READ ALSO: Vienna’s MA 35 immigration office slammed over failings despite reform

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