Krone Plus Logo

In the "Krone" podcast

Asylum code: “Must also apply current rules”

Nachrichten
16.05.2024 15:46

Before the state elections in the fall, the ruling People's Party in Vorarlberg is taking a controversial step: the "Vorarlberg Code" was announced in the fall and is intended to call on every refugee to provide integration services from June 1. Find out what the asylum codex will change, whether other federal states could soon follow suit and how integration can succeed in Austria in the KronePLUS podcast "Storyscanner".

From June 1, asylum seekers in Vorarlberg will be required to sign a document committing them to German and values courses as well as community service. This was confirmed by Governor Markus Wallner (ÖVP) at a press conference last Friday.

Code is voluntary - no sanctions planned for the time being
Around 1,750 refugees who are already receiving basic care from the state can also sign the code. "Can" is the key word, as the code is voluntary - asylum seekers are therefore free to simply refuse to sign it. For the time being, no sanctions are planned by the state government in the event of refusal.

So what exactly does the asylum code change? And what could successful integration look like? This week's guest on Krone+: "Krone" editor Philipp Stewart and migration researcher Judith Kohlenberger from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Krone+: The asylum code is generally regarded as controversial. Can you briefly explain what the Asylum Code is exactly?
Philipp Stewart: The Asylum Code was first initiated by Vorarlberg. Vorarlberg's governor Wallner from the ÖVP announced it back in the fall. He wants to oblige asylum seekers to take German courses, i.e. they can voluntarily sign the code, then they commit themselves to German and values courses and also to take on a few tasks for the general public. One example given was that they could, for example, help with the control of introduced plant species or with pilot services and thus earn some extra money.

Zitat Icon

One key change is that asylum seekers are to be picked up for the first time during this phase and given German and values courses.

„Krone“-Redakteur Philipp Stewart

Are thereactually any central changes that the asylum code brings with it?
Philipp Stewart: One central change is that asylum seekers are to be picked up for the first time during this phase, and German and values courses are to be made available to them. This already exists to a limited extent for asylum seekers, as these are the groups where there is a relatively high probability of recognition, currently mainly Syrians. They have to sign a so-called integration declaration. They can already attend German and values courses, even though they have not yet received recognized asylum status. There are sanctions if they do not comply with this. This can mean fines or possibly going to prison because they have to commit to Austrian and European values. But there are also sanctions in the form of reductions in social benefits paid out by the federal states.

Asylkodex-Beschluss
„Sehe den Vorstoß Vorarlbergs als sinnvoll an“

The asylum code is considered very controversial. But migration researcher Judith Kohlenberger from the Vienna University of Economics and Business explains why it does have positive aspects.

Ms. Kohlenberger, what do you think of Vorarlberg's initiative in adopting the asylum code?
Judith Kohlen berger: The Vorarlberg Asylum Code specifically stipulates that people who are still in the asylum process must be given access to integration services. Yes, they have to sign a commitment to attend the courses, but you can also look at it the other way round. The fact that these people are given this offer basically means that the motto of integration is met from day one. In the current Integration Year Act, there is a passage stating that groups with a high probability of remaining in the country - so far mainly Syrians - should already have access to these integration offers during the asylum procedure. However, the major problem here was that this only worked for a few years due to a lack of resources and that it was not even possible to offer comprehensive and seamless German courses for those entitled to asylum. I think it actually makes sense to extend this to asylum seekers. Because the majority will most likely stay and valuable time is being wasted here.

Zitat Icon

I welcome Vorarlberg's initiative. The fact that these people are being made this offer basically means accommodating the motto of integration from day one. Because the majority will most likely stay and valuable time is being wasted here.

Migrationsforscherin Judith Kohlenberger

Philipp, could other federal states follow suit soon? Carinthia's Governor Peter Kaiser and Styria's Governor Christopher Drexler are at least considering Vorarlberg's initiative.
Philipp Stewart: Absolutely. The question will be whether there will be a legal basis for this, Vorarlberg wants to take the plunge here. Whether the other federal states will be able to do this so quickly and what it will look like is still a question. Of course, the federal government could also come into play and create a legal basis at federal level. In principle, however, we are already hearing from some federal states that there is definitely interest in such an asylum code, although everyone would actually like to see this at federal level.

The large refugee movements of recent years are reverberating, as many refugees are now bringing their families to join them. (Bild: APA/HERBERT P. OCZERET)
The large refugee movements of recent years are reverberating, as many refugees are now bringing their families to join them.
Durchgriffsrecht auf Bundesebene
„Acht der neun Bundesländer erfüllen ihre Quote nicht“

The proposal to legally oblige the federal states to accept refugees is not new. At federal level, there was already a right of recourse until 2017, which has since expired. This meant that if the federal states failed to meet their quotas, the federal level could intervene and distribute incoming migrants. Judith Kohlenberger refers here above all to the resilience of the system that needs to be built up:

Zitat Icon

Eight of the nine federal states do not fulfill the quota of basic provision. And if we do not sanction non-compliance with a law, i.e. the basic provision agreement, then it is toothless. This means that we must actually apply the rules that are in place.

Migrationsforscherin Judith Kohlenberger im Interview mit Krone+

Ms. Kohlenberger, what sustainable structures need to be created to ensure a structured asylum and migration policy?
Judith Kohlen berger: It actually starts with reception. There have recently been many discussions about which federal state is attractive for refugees and which is not. Eight of the nine federal states do not meet the quota for basic care. And this is not about the refugees moving away - they don't even have that option at this stage. But the federal states are not opening accommodation, instead saying "we have no accommodation for refugees". This accommodation must be kept ready. The keyword here is resilience, so that new accommodation can be opened at short notice and existing structures can be activated. And if we do not sanction non-compliance with a law, i.e. the basic provision agreement, then it is toothless. This means that we must actually apply the rules in force.

To what extent can and should immigrants be held accountable? This is currently being discussed. (Bild: picturedesk.com/Michael Gruber/EXPA)
To what extent can and should immigrants be held accountable? This is currently being discussed.

Philipp, since the wave of refugees in 2015 at the latest, there have been discussions about how refugees in Austria can be accommodated better and more fairly without bringing individual regions to the brink of collapse. Among other things, asylum quotas have been introduced for the federal states. These are calculated based on the size of the respective population. There are no sanctions for non-compliance. The result: Vienna is the only federal state to have exceeded its quota in recent years - at the moment, Vienna is at 198 percent. Is it true that Vienna is so overloaded?
Philipp Stewart: Vienna never tires of mentioning that they are the only federal state to meet the asylum quota. But it won't bring Vienna to the brink of collapse. I see the problem more with family reunification. It's not just about those who are still coming, but those who are already here. Let's take the school or healthcare system: the hospitals are overcrowded, the schools in Vienna have to set up container classes. Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr (Neos) says that 350 new pupils come to Vienna every month - many of them from Ukraine - and they have to be accommodated. That's 15 new classes per month that have to be built and of course this requires teachers and the infrastructure and the teachers themselves say that they are not really trained for this. Especially when it comes to dealing with traumatized children, and many of them also lack the language skills to be able to follow the school routine. And of course this also costs money: people also use public transport, the schools have to be built - there is no support from the federal government for this, Vienna has to bear these costs alone. One of the leading Viennese teachers' unionists has now even called for the suspension of family reunification so that Vienna can fulfill its obligations and is calling on other federal states to support family reunification.

Christoph Wiederkehr (Neos) is Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Education. (Bild: SEPA.Media Martin Juen)
Christoph Wiederkehr (Neos) is Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Education.

What other integration measures would make sense in order to make life in Austria easier for asylum seekers and not further divide society?
Philipp Stewart: Integration is achieved through language, which is essential. However, many experts also see work as an important factor. Previous pilot projects have shown that the faster people can work, the faster they have social contacts and, as a result, the faster they learn the language. We have a considerable increase in illiterates in Latin and they have very intensive literacy courses from the Austrian Integration Fund. It used to be said that they should only enter the labor market once they had reached a certain level of language proficiency. But there is a change in thinking here, because people can already work and for some jobs you don't need a high level of language skills. And we have a severe shortage of skilled workers in Austria and we should give people who would like to work the opportunity to practice or learn these skills.

Zitat Icon

Integration takes place through language, that is essential. However, many experts also see work as an important factor. Previous pilot projects have shown that the faster people can work, the faster they have social contacts and, as a result, the faster they learn the language.

„Krone“-Redakteur Philipp Stewart

Grenzgewalt und Push-Backs
„Wir produzieren dieses Packerl durch das europäische Grenzregime mit“

Language and employment are probably among the most important cornerstones when it comes to an appropriate integration policy. Austria was and is a country of immigration. Economic aspects, such as the shortage of skilled workers, can be specifically counteracted here, as the immigration of highly qualified workers has a positive effect on research and innovation and therefore also on productivity and wages. Migration researcher Judith Kohlenberger from the Vienna University of Economics and Business explains what measures need to be taken in integration and asylum policy.

So what needs to change in integration and asylum policy so that traumatized and underemployed people can be helped in a targeted manner?
Judith Kohlenberger: It starts with border policy. The refugees who have been arriving here since 2022 are very different in terms of their level of education and socio-demographic composition to those who arrived in 2015. It has been shown that people with more resources tend to be the first to flee. While the second and third cohorts tend to have a lower educational status. In addition, the majority of people spend weeks or months on the Balkan route, mostly with long stays in transit countries. They experience a lot of border violence and pushbacks and, to be honest, it has to be said that people come to us with a lot of issues and don't find the right environment here to deal with them.

Storyscanner - the topic of the week from Krone+

What topic is Austria particularly preoccupied with this week? In the "Storyscanner"podcast , our Krone+ editors examine a topic of the week in detail, analyze connections and take a look behind the scenes. Listen to Storyscanner - and have your say on the most important topics .

And this topic is being kept quiet, because we are helping to produce this package through the European border regime. And this is where we need to start: Because destroyed people are arriving here as a result of this border violence. Of course, this is not just a labor market issue, it is also about security. So it's not just about integration issues. The fact that we perform so poorly in the education sector according to OECD studies despite high levels of investment is not an issue that can only be blamed on refugee children. But this is where problems crystallize. In research, we call this the ethnicization of structural problems. There's no question that family reunification is a challenge and countermeasures should have been taken much earlier, that was foreseeable. But it must be clearly stated that this is based on a system where we are not well positioned anyway.

Krone
Loading...
00:00 / 00:00
play_arrow
close
expand_more
Loading...
replay_10
skip_previous
play_arrow
skip_next
forward_10
00:00
00:00
1.0x Geschwindigkeit
explore
Neue "Stories" entdecken
Beta
Loading
Kommentare

Liebe Leserin, lieber Leser,

die Kommentarfunktion steht Ihnen ab 6 Uhr wieder wie gewohnt zur Verfügung.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
das krone.at-Team

User-Beiträge geben nicht notwendigerweise die Meinung des Betreibers/der Redaktion bzw. von Krone Multimedia (KMM) wieder. In diesem Sinne distanziert sich die Redaktion/der Betreiber von den Inhalten in diesem Diskussionsforum. KMM behält sich insbesondere vor, gegen geltendes Recht verstoßende, den guten Sitten oder der Netiquette widersprechende bzw. dem Ansehen von KMM zuwiderlaufende Beiträge zu löschen, diesbezüglichen Schadenersatz gegenüber dem betreffenden User geltend zu machen, die Nutzer-Daten zu Zwecken der Rechtsverfolgung zu verwenden und strafrechtlich relevante Beiträge zur Anzeige zu bringen (siehe auch AGB). Hier können Sie das Community-Team via unserer Melde- und Abhilfestelle kontaktieren.

Kostenlose Spiele