Learn German or you're out, Austria tells immigrants
Wednesday 10 July 2002
Foreigners in Austria will be forced to learn German or face deportation, under new legislation passed yesterday.
Non-EU citizens who arrived in Austria after 1 January 1998 will be obliged to attend 100 hours of tuition in German language and culture. Those immigrants who can prove they already have German language skills, and high-ranking managers and other professionals who stay for less than two years can be excused.
Participants will be obliged to pay half of the estimated €350 (£230) cost of the course. The state's contribution drops to a quarter after 18 months for foreigners who do not comply with the regulations, and to zero after two years. After three years, anyone who has not completed the course will be fined and after four years of non-compliance their residence permit will be withdrawn.
The "integration contract" has been heavily criticised by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens.During the parliamentary debate on the Bill, the Greens' migration spokeswoman, Terezija Stoisits, appealed for MPs to vote "no to the de-integration package, yes to integration".
But the centre-right People's Party, which governs in a coalition with the far right-wing Freedom Party, argued that the government was merely addressing the concerns of ordinary Austrians.
Peter Westenthaler, the Freedom Party's parliamentary leader, described the new law as "one of the most modern pieces of legislation on foreigners in Europe".
In autumn 1999 there was an international outcry when the Freedom Party ran an election campaign with posters calling for an end to Überfremdung ("being swamped by foreigners"). Several months later, diplomatic sanctions were imposed on Austria by the EU when the Freedom Party entered national government.
Now, the party is relishing the swing to the right in recent European elections. The party's de facto leader, Jörg Haider, said such election results were "the best confirmation" of far right-wing ideas.
Recent ideas from within the Freedom Party include paying new immigrants only as much social security benefits as they would receive in their home country, and making asylum-seekers clean up dog faeces. With general elections due next year, this is probably just a taste of what is in store.
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of Orlando Bloom crying after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Kelsey Grammer forgives the man who raped and murdered his sister in 1975
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...