From deportation to residency requirements

It states that no one should return to a country where there is a risk of persecution, imprisonment, torture or even death. The EU Commission and most other EU countries have correspondingly little room for Garner's proposal.

More recently, there was a proposal for a residence requirement: only the federal state where the person resides at the time of the asylum application must pay the minimum income. It should enable fair distribution. How do the parties perceive this?

In Vienna, burdened by the large number of refugees, the SPÖ, together with its pink coalition partner, passed a resolution requiring the central government to decide on the residence requirement for recognized refugees. “One sometimes has the impression that creating problems in Vienna definitely had the desired effect,” says Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), accusing the government of inaction in this area. Vienna SPÖ community councilor Peter Hacker disagrees with his comrades and is against such restrictions.

and party leader Andreas Popler? “The residency requirement can be a useful lever for fair distribution, but it must be viewed in detail from a legal perspective,” he stresses. Adequate German courses, proficiency tests and educational opportunities are urgently needed. Chairman of the ÖVP Municipal Association Johannes Press for the residency requirement, but is quite isolated in this regard. According to the Coordinating Minister, the debate misses the point Susan Robb. He accused Vienna of attracting refugees through high social benefits.

Is the residency requirement legally possible?

European lawyer Walter Obwexer It is doubtful. EU law requires asylum seekers to be treated like nationals when it comes to social assistance, he tells ORF.

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Is “social tourism” disproportionately driving refugee arrivals to Vienna?

Contrary to the minimum basic rules, refugees only receive a minimum benefit once they have successfully completed the asylum procedure. For people living alone and single parents, the maximum amount of this social assistance in 2024 is 1,156 euros. Because the federal states have freedom when it comes to child benefits, Vienna pays slightly more than other federal states. In addition, those entitled to supplementary protection living privately receive an increase in basic services, which puts them on equal financial footing with those entitled to asylum.

“But you always have to compare it to the cost of living,” says Lukas Gehleitner-Gertz from Austria's Asylum Coordination. Studies show in principle that social advantages play a role in choosing a place of residence. But Wifo economist Peter Huber insists that jobs, care benefits and the housing market will do.

How are Vienna's schools handling the high number of family reunifications?

An average of 350 children and young people come to Vienna every month as part of family reunification. This presents enormous challenges for educational institutions that are not fully prepared at the start of the academic year. Parent representatives and teachers criticize the overburdened school system. There are not enough staff to teach basic skills to traumatized children, some of whom have spent the last few years in refugee camps.

There are currently 17,800 children in Vienna who cannot follow lessons because they lack German language skills. Now these students must be equally distributed between districts and schools, at least within Vienna.

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