Stricter immigration law on the horizon for Austria

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, of the right-wing Freedom Party, wants to enact a "restrictive immigration law"  even if the number of asylum applications keeps falling.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Stricter immigration law on the horizon for Austria - NewsMavens
Refugees, Flickr.

Why this story matters:

Over the past decade, asylum law has been amended more frequently than any other legal matter. And not only in Austria, but in most EU countries. There are even professional guides which help lawyers to get through the resulting confusion. 

And yet, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl believes the law should be modified yet again.

He has submitted his “Asylum and Foreigners' Rights Package” to the Council of Ministers, and a leaked chapter revealed draconian measures.   

As Der Standard editor Michael Simoner points out, the document was obviously not created in keeping with the principles of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the most important international document for refugee protection.

An overview of the planned provisions in Minister Kickl's Asylum Package:

  • Detention after sentence: Asylum seekers convicted of criminal offenses will be detained after their prison sentence in order to prevent those who are subject to a deportation notice from disappearing after their release.
  • New citizenship law: Minister Kickl also plans on introducing changes to citizenship law. Asylum-seekers will only be allowed to apply for an Austrian passport after ten years. At the moment, refugees can apply for Austrian citizenship after 6 years.
  • Stricter residence restrictions: asylum seekers will have to remain in the state where they receive social care during the application procedure.
  • Hospitals will have to declare refugee patients: hospitals will be given additional responsabilities in order to prevent refugees from escaping during hospital care.
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