Gradual start – From 2024, Upper Austrian asylum seekers must work for a non-profit organization

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After the Ministry of Home Affairs recently gave the states the green light through legal advice to expand the use of asylum seekers for charity work, the states are also starting to implement this. Upper Austria wants to move on quickly.

In Upper Austria they want to start gradually as early as 2024, provincial councilor Wolfgang Hattmannsdorfer (ÖVP) said in a broadcast on Saturday.

Non-profit work
The Home Office model presented to states this week stipulates that asylum seekers should in future be able to work for non-profit organizations, in addition to charity work locally or on behalf of states and municipalities; the associated catalog of services needs to be revised. If you refuse, it should be possible to reduce your pocket money (40 euros per month) or to switch from cash to benefits in kind (e.g. meal vouchers) or a reduction in benefits in kind. The states are responsible for its implementation.

Waiting for the Ministry of the Interior
Upper Austria wants to wait for the revised service catalog from the Ministry of the Interior and “start preparations in parallel so that we can gradually introduce the obligation to provide assistance next year,” State Councilor Hattmannsdorfer said in the Ö1 “Morgenjournal”. It is appropriate that refugees contribute food and supplies, from mowing the lawn to helping in social markets. There should be a ‘recognition contribution’ for this; the current catalog provides three to five euros.

More acceptance
“I firmly believe that our life together consists of rights and obligations. This also applies to asylum seekers, who also have a social responsibility towards the country that accepts them and allows them to undergo a fair trial. This visible contribution to the receiving society contributes to better acceptance,” says Hattmannsdorfer.

Amnesty has its doubts
The director of Amnesty International Austria, Shoura Hashemi, criticized the obligation to provide relief work on Saturday. This would be questionable in human rights terms – if it were legally valid at all. “I think this current discussion in Austria at the moment is more of a political show, a story that is very suitable for the election campaign and for the elections coming next year,” she said on Ö1. She also wondered what the purpose of the commitment was. According to asylum law experts, in practice many people are willing to work anyway. The fact that we are now switching from an earlier work ban to a work obligation seems “a bit grotesque”. Instead, the government should make it easier for asylum seekers in general to access the labor market.

Source: Krone

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