Why Austria wants to speed up integration of foreigners into the workforce

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Why Austria wants to speed up integration of foreigners into the workforce
People walk in an airport. Austria wants to integrate foreigners into the workforce quicker to help ease labour shortage. Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

The Austrian government is looking at measures aimed at integrating immigrants into the labour market at a quicker pace.


Politicians and experts gathered at the 'Austrian Integration Conference' in the capital Vienna on Tuesday, broadcaster ORF reported.

Integration Minister Susanne Raab, of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), urged for residence documents to be issued swiftly so that people can join the workforce.

The minister said the recognition of educational qualifications, especially in the health and care sector, needed to pick up pace in Austria. Joining the labour market quickly is “the key to successful integration,” said Raab at the opening of the event.

Raab advocated speeding up the integration process so that people entitled to asylum do not remain in the social benefits system for an extended period of time. 

ÖVP Labour Minister Martin Kocher echoed this sentiment. In view of demographic change and the resulting increasing demand for workers in Austria, a rethinking of the labour market is needed in order to tap into all available potential, he urged. 

To enable this, Kocher said the Red-White-Red Card (Austria's residency permit for skilled workers) should be used more, but that permits needed to be issued by authorities "quicker" and be less bureaucratic, and more focused".

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Kocher said Austria aims to use the Red-White-Red Card to attract a minimum of 15,000 skilled workers annually from non-EU nations to Austria by 2027.

The aim is to highlight opportunities in Austria for young people who do not have a job in their home country, said Kocher.

The ÖVP leads the coalition government in Austria with the Greens.

The centre-right party generally takes a tough stance on immigration and previously advocated for tougher rules on foreigners regarding their entitlement to social benefits. 



Meanwhile, the New Austria and Liberal Forum (NEOS) party called for Austria to look abroad for inspiration on updating immigration laws. 

In a press release, NEOS urged for a "model based on the Canadian model to give qualified immigrants a clear perspective and at the same time combat the domestic labour shortage".


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