Less for people without an Austrian passport

A planned reform of the Austrian welfare system has been adopted, thereby making it more difficult for refugees to access social benefits.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Less for people
without an Austrian passport - NewsMavens
Euros, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

The ruling parties ÖVP and FPÖ have long been speaking about about the "exploding costs" of having a social benefits program that assists migrants. Their official goal in seeking a reform was to ensure standardization between the federal states -- but the underlying goal was certainly to reduce some types of welfare payments paid out to non-citizens.

The reform plans were passed during a session on Sunday and Monday. They will hit the Vienna region hardest, where half of those receiving these benefits do not have an Austrian passport. New hurdles in accessing welfare will mainly affect refugees. They will now have to demonstrate German language skills and simple English skills in order to get a basic benefit of 863 euros.

European law expert Franz Leidenmüller of the University of Linz says that requirements targeting refugees would be contrary to European law -- access to social benefits has to be the same for nationals and asylum seekers.

"Access requirements can’t be discriminatory to asylum seekers -- and a language skills requirement is."

Overall, the cutbacks for refugees will contribute to their impoverishment and could create a breeding ground for crime.

Details from the story:

  • In 2016, Austria spent half a billion euros on minimum wage.
  • At 924 million euros, these are just 0.9 percent of total social benefits (2016 figures).
  • The remaining social benefits amount to 106,044.8 million euros.
  • At 7.3 million euros, expenditure on minimum wage is lowest in Burgenland, with Vienna having the highest expenditure of 583.4 million. 
EDITOR'S PICK:
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
Google DNI
SUPPORTED BY:
Women in news
World Editors Forum
STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy