Austria Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz has taken serious measures to control illegal immigration into Austria this year.
Salzburg is one beautiful city seated at the border of Austria. Its mountainous areas provide a fantastic view of the Eastern Alps. The sunset completely brings out the city’s glow, making it all the more attractive. It is, however, a sore story for immigrants and asylum seekers living in such hostile asylum conditions.
An asylum seeker, Sajid Khan, confessed that the joy of living in such an exciting city is rapidly fading as the government of Austria brings up strict and complicated rules for applying for asylum. He fears the thought of being asked to leave the city. In his opinion, one can literally feel the effect of xenophobia hanging on the air in the streets of Austria, as individuals who are not born citizens are being harassed daily. He also mentioned that he migrated to the country in 2014 but has not been allowed to work till date.
Various opinions on integration
The two most popular political parties in Austria are strongly anti-immigrant parties, yet have over 58% of the entire population as their supporters. Just Like Khan, most immigrants feel unsafe and unwelcome considering the complex asylum procedures and hostile treatment from born citizens of the country.
A survey carried out for the yearly report of Immigration and Integration in Austria showed that over 45% of the born citizens who participate in the polling process were positive about integration, while the other 55% still doubted the possibilities. Between 2010 and 2014, there was an increase in the number of citizens who believed that integration could be achieved from 30.8% to 48.6%. In 2015, about a million immigrants were trooping into Europe, and there arose a refugee crisis in the border between Austria and Germany.
Since this occurrence, there have been alternating views on integration. It dropped to 40.8% in 2015, after that reached 48.1% in 2016, then last year it reduced to 36.5%.
Amnesty International raises concern over Asylum policies in Austria
The Secretary General of Amnesty International in Austria, Heinz Patzelt claims that the country is to blame for the alternating views about integration. He said that the government of Vienna is doing its best to disintegrate immigrants, including those who cannot be deported because they are under the coverage of asylum.
Patzeitz told the public that much work had been done in trying to disintegrate immigrants who have managed to adapt to the culture of Austria. This is largely reflected in the annulment of all language classes for immigrants. He further noted that this could be caused by the disposition of the ruling parties towards immigrants.
According to him, it was terrible enough that past governments never welcomed immigrants with open arms, but the new government has set impossible rules for them, with hopes of eliminating immigrants from the country.
Results of strict policies over time
In Salzburg, there is a charity home for asylum seekers named Caristas’ accommodation. It is managed by Tatjana Krafft who believes that the government is actually achieving whatever it aims at when it has to do with immigrants. She said that with the massive drop in the number of asylum seekers coming to the Caristas’ accommodation, it is evident that the Government is doing a good job of keeping them away. The charity home has been working with the city officials to provide shelter for asylum seekers whose applications are still being processed. Tatjana also mentioned that the home can accommodate over 49 persons, but they currently have unoccupied spaces there.
Based on the data provided by the Statistical Office of the European Union (EUROSTAT), there has been a 12% drop in the number of fresh asylum seekers in EU for the second quarter of this year relative to the second quarter of last year. The first quarter of 2018 however recorded 4% less than the second. It also showed that the number of applications for admission into asylums in non-European countries was 137,000 as at the second quarter of this year.
The stress of being an Asylum seeker or immigrant in Austria
Sajid Khan stated that since the ruling government began their tenure in 2017, there have been so many changes in policies. He said that the numbers of times they have experienced police raids have drastically increased and that the Government’s law enforcement bodies have maltreated the asylum seekers.
He also added that most young immigrants and asylum seekers have become frustrated by the mean mode of interaction the citizens have with them and the restriction of language training by the authorities. According to him, this is the reason why most of them take to petty crimes and vices.
In spite of this, some citizens feel integration is a great idea and a welcome development.
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