Policies to discourage and drive down illegal immigration created by Austria’s conservative-populist coalition government are proving so successful the government is reportedly to close seven asylum centres across the country.
The Austrian government hailed the significant cost saving this would represent to the taxpayer in remarks make to the best-selling daily newspaper Kronen Zeitung, which reports the nation has the second fastest falling rate of asylum applications in the European Union.
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Over 7,000 individuals were either voluntarily or forcibly repatriated in the first six months of the year, accelerating the change in demand. The removals followed a significant fall in asylum applications in 2017 after the Austrian government pursued policies of border control and enforcing asylum law.
An interior ministry spokesman told the paper: “In the field of federal assistance, there is a review of the contracts and institutions in budgetary, operational and geographical terms. As a first interim result, seven of the 20 active federal care facilities will be shut down by the end of the year. This will save taxpayers almost twelve million euros in child care costs per annum.”
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One of the closing centres will be in Carinthia, one in Salzburg, two in Styria, and three in Upper Austria.
While Austria is closing migrant centres at home, it is considering opening them elsewhere. Interior minister Herbert Kickl has been pushing for European nations to open processing centres in Africa to allow would-be migrants to get decisions on their eligibility before crossing the Mediterranean at great personal risk. The initiative would also mean fewer expensive forced repatriations for European governments.
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Breitbart London reported in March on the Austrian government’s work to crack down on criminal asylum seekers following a number of high profile crimes, with interior minister Kickl remarking: “We need bold approaches… If asylum seekers are in custody, the process must be brought to an end as quickly as possible.” Asylum seekers made up almost half of all criminal suspects in 2016.