Austria is the second European nation, after Germany, with the largest number of foreign asylum seekers. Statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) show that Afghans are at the top of the list, with an estimated 50,000 Afghans living in Austria.
The main reason for the migratory movement to Austria is attributed to the quality of life that the State offers, which is above the average of the European Union. Therefore, if you need to emigrate from your country, find out what are the steps you should follow to enjoy:
- Better job and stable income
- Decent housing
- Physical, mental and environmental security
- Access to quality education
- Good social coexistence
First considerations for applying for asylum in Austria
First of all, it is mandatory that you are located in the territory to start the application, which is personal and individual. The second aspect to consider is that Austria is governed by the Dublin Regulation, which means that the entities in charge of processing your request:
- They will determine whether another treaty nation is more competent to process your immigration proceedings.
- Look for close family connections, who are legally located in one of the countries that signed the regulation.
- They will investigate in the joint database, if you have work permit, visa or stay records in the European Union States.
Also, the officials assigned to your case will check to see if you have direct relatives in Austria who have already been granted protection. If so, you may be able to join them, provided you meet certain criteria; this is called family reunification.
Children and young people entering the country without their parents, adult relative or representative, will have the right to a particular social assistance that will guide them during each of the established steps. Similarly, they will enjoy accommodation; but, in specific places where they will find professionals dedicated to the orientation of minors. For more detailed information, here.
Asylum procedure in Austria
Applications for international protection must be processed directly at the police station. Officials will have the authority to retain the cash with which you entered the country, if the amount exceeds 120€. However, at present, exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis; allowing people to enter Austrian soil with up to €840.
It should be noted that the money retained is used to cover part of the accommodation expenses in the country. It is your duty to keep a balance of the accounts so that, in case there is a difference in your favor, you can request a refund.
Step 1. Registration and first interview
To proceed with registration, you will be taken to a specialized police department for an initial interview. This consists of an interrogation about your identity, the escape route you used and, very briefly, the reasons that forced you to take such a decision. Do not evade the questions and try to narrate the facts chronologically and in an organized manner.
Step 2. Correspondence of responsibilities
Your data will be sent to the federal office of immigration and asylum (BFA), to decide if it is up to Austria to process your application or if another European country will be responsible for hosting you. If applicable, the case transferyou can appeal the decision.
Yes, indeed, Austria will be the country in charge of processing your request; you will receive a residence permit called white card. And, then you will be transferred to a reception center in one of the provinces of the country.
Step 3. Second interview
Once at your housing center, you will be notified of the day you will attend the second interview. The second interview will be held at the BFA office closest to your home. It is important that you prepare for the meeting, because you will be asked detailed questions about how you decided to flee your country, so you will have to explain your reasons for seeking asylum in Austria.
In this regard, it is essential that the statement is coherent and explicit. In fact, successful refugees recommend that you narrate the events in chronological order, as this helps to prevent officials from doubting the information.
Step 4. Decision
Austria will only issue two types of decisions:
- Request accepted. You have been recognized as a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection, which means that you will have the right to:
- Reside in the country and opt for citizenship after five years. For more information, click here.
- Enter the educational system.
- Enjoy medical care.
- Process a travel document.
- Rejected request. You can appeal the decision to the Federal Administrative Court. This body has the last word on the admission of international protection cases.
Rights and duties as an asylum seeker
Now, while the approval or denial of asylum is defined, it is important that you know the benefits and obligations that correspond to you as protection applicant. Here is a list of them:
|Receive all the information about the asylum application in a language you can understand.||Respect every one of Austria’s laws.|
|Basic assistance, such as food and accommodation.||Cooperate with the Austrian authorities by supplying the information that is necessary for the decision of the case.|
|Not be extradited or returned against your will, until a final answer to the case is issued.||Declare the money with which you enter Austria.|
|Education, in the case of those under 15 years of age.||Provide the authorities with the electronic storage devices that you bring with you, in order to verify your identity.|
|Move around the entire Austrian territory, without establishing a residence other than the one assigned.||Do not leave the country. If you do, this will be grounds for rejection of the request.|
|Primary health care.||Stay in the chosen province. You won’t be able to stay anywhere else.|
|Do not leave the assigned residence for more than 48 hours.|
It is common for some people to wish to return home voluntarily while the asylum procedure is still ongoing. If this is your case, and you are considering returning to your home country, you will need to contact the Bundesagentur für Betreuungs- und Unterstützungsleistungen (BBU) for appropriate advice.
The Republic of Austria will provide you with the assistance you need within the legal framework and with due respect for the procedures, if you decide not to wait for the completion of the asylum process. In fact, it may be able to provide financial assistance if you do not have the resources to cover the trip. However, we invite you to be patient and remain in the reception center until the final decision is made.
Based on the above, there is no doubt that the objective of the Austrian State is to help people who have been victims of violence, discrimination and persecution in their home countries. The benefits offered are excellent at every stage; that is, while the petition is being resolved and once you are accepted as a refugee or in subsidiary protection.