Austria plans to deny rejected asylum seekers basic services

TMP – 17/03/2017

The Austrian parliament is expected to approve a new migrant bill that will deny rejected asylum seekers any accommodation if they refuse to leave the country.

Interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka said: “Migrants who refuse to leave the country will now face consequences which could include a suspension of shelter and food.”

Migrants in Austria receive so-called basic services such as free accommodation, medical treatment, food and an allowance of €40 per month. Those who decline to leave Austria should be deprived of these incentives Sobotka said. “The first thing is basically that they don’t get anything from the Austrian state if they don’t have the right to stay here,” he added.

The bill also includes severe measures for migrants who provide false information when they file their asylum application. A Reuters’ report indicates that the new migrant bill is set to include provisions that would bring a possible three-week prison sentence or fines of up to €5,000 for migrants who lie about their identity.

Setting up special return centres close to airports to detain migrants without the correct necessary documentation is also part of the bill, according to government officials.

Claiming that the EU has not fulfilled its obligation to secure the borders of the region, Austria has already joined the Balkan Frontier Defence Project, comprised of 15 Eastern European countries, to curb the flow of migrants northward.

“We do not believe that the EU’s external borders are adequately protected so far by the EU. That is why Austria, together with 15 other countries along the Balkan route and the Visegrád states, is planning a close cooperation in the framework of a new Balkan frontier defence project,” defence minister Hans-Peter Doskozil explained in an interview with German national daily newspaper Die Welt.

Last month Doskozil confirmed that Austria is also working on another bill that would allow the government to send troops to other European countries to guard its borders from illegal migrants and refugees.