IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Austria’s new right-wing coalition government has proposed plans to impose monetary sanctions on immigrants who maintain their own culture and do not integrate into Austrian society.
What does the change mean? Foreign nationals should expect new requirements regarding their knowledge of Austrian culture and participation in the mainstream society.
- Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Work and residence permits.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals living and working in Austia; asylees and refugees.
- Business impact: The plan is likely to heighten scrutiny of foreign nationals’ integration into Austrian society and may require them to take an integration test or sign an agreement promising to assimilate.
Background: The newly formed government is a coalition between the conservative People’s Party and the hard-right anti-immigration Freedom Party, with the latter taking control of the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Ministry. Both parties agreed to a plan that seeks to prevent “parallel societies” and would impose “sanctions” on foreign nationals who “refuse to integrate”
The plan would also reduce support payments to asylum seekers unless they earn bonus points for integrating into Austrian society, accelerate deportations of undocumented immigrants, and end illegal migration.
BAL Analysis: While details of the plan are not concrete at this point, employers and foreign nationals should anticipate tighter immigration controls in Austria under the new government and new rules on the integration of expatriate workers.