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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Vienna

image of Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Vienna

Fast population growth in the city of Vienna is largely related to international migration.  Long-standing migrant communities represent half of Vienna’s population. In 2016, 50% of the inhabitants had migrant backgrounds, and since 2015, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the city has increased. Since 1971, the city has developed dedicated administrative structures and local policies for migrants. A dedicated municipal unit (MA17) oversees how departments achieve migration-sensitive standards in their respective policy fields and produces the yearly Vienna Integration and Diversity monitoring report. A good practice is “Start Wien”,  a comprehensive coaching and information programme addressing newcomers (including asylum seekers) for the first two years after arrival. After that, foreign residents benefit from non-targeted measures, for instance from a programme fighting labour market exclusion of low-skilled groups. Vienna has avoided high segregation due to its large and well spread social housing. However migrants can only access it after five years of residency in the city, before which they rely on private rental market. Vienna establishes close contacts with migrant associations and NGOs at the district level and engages public consultations when formulating integration concepts. This report sheds light on how the municipality and non-state partners work together with the other levels of government for sustainable migrant and refugee integration.

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Executive summary

Vienna is a fast-growing city that will most probably cross the 2-million-inhabitants threshold before 2030. Its population growth has been positive ever since the millennium and is largely related to immigration from abroad. In 2016, net migration to Vienna amounted to 22 000 persons. Overall, 35% (or 704 902 people) of Vienna’s total population of 1 840 226 people, were born abroad and 50% have a migration background.Citizens holding Austrian citizenship who have a migration background are persons who have at least one parent that was born abroad or holds foreign nationalities. These will also be referred to as native-born children of migrant parents. Some 61% of migrants have been in Vienna for more than ten years. Among the whole population, foreign-born individuals from third countriesNon- EU/EFTA. represent the largest group with a share of 22.8%; EU/EFTA country nationals make up 15.5% of the population. Foreign-born individuals from Serbia (5.4%) and Turkey (4.1%) constitute the largest population share, while Germans represent the third largest group (3%). Furthermore, since 2015, the number of asylum seekers and refugees in the city has increased sharply. Vienna currently hosts 20 500 people in need of basic assistance, 15 000 more than in 2011; most of these are asylum seekers.In Austria, asylum seekers are among the group of foreigners who receive so-called “basic assistance”. There is an agreement between the federal state of Austria and the federal provinces about support provided to foreigners in need of protection called “Grundversorgungsvereinbarung - Art. 15a B-VG”. Target groups are people who have applied for asylum and await the decision, those have not been granted asylum but cannot return to their countries of origin, as well as those who were granted asylum for the first four months after recognition.

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