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Austria to DNA Test Illegal Migrants Due to Abuse of 'Family Reunification' and Document Fraud

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Photo: Austria to DNA Test Illegal Migrants Due to Abuse of 'Family Reunification' and Document Fraud. Source: UNHCR-Alessio-Mamo
Photo: Austria to DNA Test Illegal Migrants Due to Abuse of 'Family Reunification' and Document Fraud. Source: UNHCR-Alessio-Mamo

The Austrian government is planning to strictly limit "family reunification" as a reason for refugees to come to the country, which is being abused by refugees using DNA tests. They should be carried out "if there is even the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the documents", writes Krone.

DNA tests for newly arrived refugees were announced by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). 

"Thanks to intensive border security and cooperation with partners in the Western Balkans, we have managed to significantly reduce the number of detentions at our borders. Now family reunification is the next challenge we are tackling, and I am clear: we will limit family reunification through strict checks," says Nehammer. The stricter DNA tests are intended to "absolutely make sure that there is no abuse here."

Next week, the decree will be strengthened in law.

For these measures, the ÖVP does not need the approval of its coalition partner, the Greens. However, other proposals to restrict family reunification require changes at the EU level. 

The People's Party proposes, among other things, to allow family members of refugees to enter the country only if they have the means to support themselves. An example of this is the red, white and red card for labour migrants. In order to join their families, they need proof of income between €1,200 and around €2,000, as well as proof of a suitable living situation. Those who are eligible for asylum, on the other hand, can apply for family reunification within three months of being granted status and do not have to demonstrate the ability to support themselves.

For Austria, "family reunification" of irregular migrants is becoming a problem.  In the first three months of 2024, the country received 6,922 asylum applications. Half of the new asylum applications were from underage children. This is increasingly becoming an insurmountable burden for the education system. The situation is particularly dramatic in Vienna, where 18,000 extraordinary students are currently studying. Almost one in ten children cannot speak German. 

At the same time, Austria will strengthen the work of special document checkers and increase security checks on family members by security agencies.

Earlier, the UK passed a bill to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda.

As The Gaze previously reported, the Italian parliament approved an agreement with Albania that provides for the transfer of illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to two specially created reception centres in Albania.

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