Advertisement

Politics For Members

How can Vienna solve its 'immigration problems'?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How can Vienna solve its 'immigration problems'?
Austrian citizens and asylum seekers march during a pro-refugee protest called "Let them stay" in Vienna, Austria on November 26, 2016. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Austrian capital faces challenges with a high influx of immigrants, primarily people coming through family reunification for refugees' families. What does each major political party believe should be done to tackle the issues?

Advertisement

The number of asylum applications has dropped in Austria, but changes in the profile of those arriving are creating new demands and new policies, as The Local has reported. After the first influx of mostly men, their families are following and reaching Austria legally through a family reunification process specific to asylum seekers. 

According to recent data, a significant number of asylum applications in the first quarter of 2024 came from young children. Minors made up a substantial portion, around 53 percent, of total applications. There's also been a noticeable increase in the number of women seeking asylum.

This influx of children has already had a direct impact on the country. News reports indicate that schools in the primary destination city, Vienna, are struggling to accommodate the new arrivals.

READ ALSO: How a change in the profile of asylum seekers is impacting Austria

The housing market and the healthcare system are also under pressure, Austrian media has reported. What does each major party believe should be done to tackle the issues?

Advertisement

SPÖ and NEOS

The ruling Viennese coalition has already put forth several measures, particularly regarding issues with the education system. In the current academic year, 2,400 teachers have been hired to help schools as new pupils arrive.

Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) has also been vocal about criticising the federal government's system for distributing refugees. He asks for an Austria-wide, more equitable policy so that each state takes a "fair share".

"It is unacceptable for the government to demand a fair distribution among the states at the EU level while failing to meet its obligations at home," he said.

The liberal party NEOS says that the "primary goal" should be reducing illegal migration at the European level. The pink party proposes that asylum procedures be carried out at the EU's external borders and that there be a "fair distribution" of asylum seekers within the bloc. 

READ ALSO: What are Austria’s plans to tighten family reunification process?

Advertisement

ÖVP and Greens

Two opposition parties—and partners in the federal government—have also made their stance known. The centre-right party ÖVP criticises "Vienna's undifferentiated welcome policy," which it says receives "with open arms" even asylum seekers who are assigned to other provinces in Austria. 

The party wants to make Vienna a less attractive destination for refugees, reducing benefits and increasing the waiting period for refugees to receive some of the monetary assistance they can request. 

The Greens want to focus on integration measures, including quick access to language training and the labour market so that refugees can "make their contribution to this society". 

Advertisement

Far-right: No social assistance for non-citizens

As you might expect, the far-right FPÖ is the most anti-refugee (and anti-immigration in general) party. 

In an interview with Krone.tv, Freedom Party parliamentary representative Dominik Nepp claimed that "social welfare for non-citizens should be set to zero".

When asked where to re-home asylum seekers and how to distribute them in Austria, he said, "Where to? To their home countries! We don't need to distribute them; we need to deport them as quickly as possible".

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also