Austria to ban asylum-seekers from apprenticeships
David Martin AFP
August 27, 2018
Austria is set to bar asylum-seekers from taking up vacant training spaces while their claims are still being assessed. It marks the latest in a spate of restrictions placed on migrants by the right-wing government.
Asylum-seekers in Austria will no longer be able to apply for apprenticeship schemes, as part of a draft regulation presented by the government on Monday.
The legislation actually aims to fill vacant training places and apprenticeships, which will be open to laborers from third countries but not to asylum-seekers whose claims are being assessed, government spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said.
The new law would overturn a 2012 policy introduced by the then-government, led by the Social Democrats (SPÖ), aimed at integrating refugees.
Kurz's government has already restricted aid for refugees and reduced funding for several integration initiatives, such as German lessons. Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, an FPÖ hard-liner, has also made clear that his ministry has made the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers a priority.
Thousands of people affected
According to government figures, some 8,600 refugees in Austria under the age of 25 are currently seeking work, including some 1,300 who are seeking to enroll in an apprenticeship scheme.
In an interview with Austrian broadcaster Ö1, Economy Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) said that those asylum-seekers who are taking part in an apprenticeship would be allowed to complete their program. However, that would only benefit the approximately 1,000 migrants currently enrolled. Furthermore, according to the Green party, around half of those could face deportation afterwards.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) also spoke out against the Austrian government. "For many young asylum-seekers, this would mean having to sit around idly for years instead of doing something meaningful and learning something in Austria," a spokesman said.