Austria’s Conservative-Populist Govt to Confiscate Migrant Cash to Cover Asylum Costs

NICKELSDORF, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 30: A sign marking the Austrian border on November 30, 2016 in Nickelsdorf, Austria. Polls indicate that right-wing populist presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has a strong chance of winning presidential elections scheduled for December 4. Hofer has in his campaign rhetoric warned of criminal immigrants and …
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Asylum seekers in Austria will have to pay up to 840 euros to cover the costs of processing their claims in tough measures announced by the conservative-populist coalition.

The measures, which were presented as part of a new asylum bill on Wednesday, will also grant the police and immigration authorities the ability to examine the mobile phones of migrants to better determine their country of origin and which countries they may have travelled through to get to Austria, 20 minutes reports.

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, a leading member of the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ), said the idea behind the new plan is to make Austria less appealing to asylum seekers. The government also plans to reduce the amount of money asylum seekers receive in benefits, as well.

The new bill, which will likely be passed by the summer, has come under fire from left-liberal opposition parties like the Social Democrats (SPÖ), which called the plan “short-sighted”.

Annemarie Schlack, Managing Director of Amnesty International Austria, said that Interior Minister Kickl was creating uncertainty through the new amendment to the asylum law and put integration efforts into jeopardy.

While asylum seekers who are carrying cash with them will be subject to the new amendment, those who have no cash will not and the bill is written in such a way that asylum seekers must retain at least 120 euros.

The new bill comes after a series of violent incidents in Vienna involving migrants. Last month, an Afghan migrant stabbed a family of three and then a Chechen drug dealer, explaining he was motivated by the fact he was in a “bad mood” at the time.

Several days later, another migrant attempted to attack a guard outside the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Vienna only to be shot and killed. It was later revealed that the man had moved to Austria from Egypt and had sympathies with radical Islamic extremism.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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