Austria will launch an “anti-marketing” operation to reduce the number of refugees
The Austrian government wishes to carry out campaigns « anti-marketing » to safe countries from which refugees are suspected of emigrating for economic reasons, including to counter promises made by smugglers.
Given the record number of refugees entering Austria in 2022, the asylum system is ” breathless “said Interior Minister Gerhard Karner. At the end of July, more than 40,000 asylum seekers were registered in Austria. Last year, they were 14,000 at the end of July.
Asylum applications have increased by 186% when comparing the first half of 2021 and 2022, pushing Vienna to adopt a stricter approach.
Some attribute the rise to tighter checks on people seeking to transit through Austria, saying the government is artificially inflating the number of refugees – a position Mr Karner rejects.
The Austrian government is inspired by several policies already implemented by its European neighbours.
The campaign of “negative marketing” will likely reflect the initiative “Rumors about Germany” of the German government, which has sought to debunk the myths and misinformation conveyed by smugglers, such as “each refugee receives a welcome payment of 2,000 euros”.
In addition, Vienna wants to increase the percentage of asylum seekers who voluntarily return to their country of origin. In 2021, around 60% of applicants, or some 6,500 people, have returned voluntarily, while Denmark achieves a 90% voluntary return rate.
This result is attributed to the early return counseling provided by the Danish government, which is not legally possible in Austria. “It’s a point where we may have to readjust some things”noted Mr. Karner.
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