Ukraine is a safe country

Asylum: Ukraine becomes "safe country of origin"

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl announced a new Austrian regulation for safe countries of origin. Among other things, Ukraine is classified as safe. Asylum notices should no longer be reviewed after three, but after one or two years.

Austria's asylum law is getting a new regulation for safe countries of origin. Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) announced this on Wednesday at a press conference in Klagenfurt. Among other things, Ukraine will then be qualified as safe. Kickl did not want to name any other countries. The subject comes to the Council of Ministers next week, and then the whole regulation will be presented.

Ukraine is currently still among the "top ten" countries of origin for asylum applications, said the Interior Minister. Kickl praised it as a success of its own that the number of asylum seekers or persons entitled to asylum in the basic care had recently fallen to below 60,000. The aim is an "orderly and efficient" asylum policy. If the numbers continued to fall, the associated infrastructure could be dismantled, whereby, from Kickl's point of view, small quarters should be abandoned first and then the large ones.

As a further measure, the FPÖ politician mentioned that positive asylum notices should be checked after a certain period of time, one or two years, to see whether the reasons for fleeing still exist. Such a review is currently taking place after three years. One should also "counter abuse", which is shown when refugees temporarily travel back to their home country.

2017: 484 Ukrainian asylum seekers

The basis for including Ukraine in the list of safe countries of origin is an extensive country report by the Federal Office for Asylum and Immigration. This applies to most of the country with the exception of the self-proclaimed pro-Russian people's republics in the east of the country. In the parts of the country controlled by the Ukrainian government, the situation is "basically calm".

Citizens of Ukraine - including internally displaced persons - can therefore settle anywhere in the country without having to fear systemic discrimination. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 484 asylum seekers came to Austria from Ukraine last year. Compared to 2016, that was an increase of 110 people or almost 30 percent. This puts the European country in ninth place among the countries with the most applications. In only four percent of the cases, however, protection was granted.

Deportation possible immediately in the event of a complaint

Specifically, the declaration of a state as a "safe country of origin" means that the Federal Office can revoke the suspensive effect of a complaint against a negative decision on an application for international protection - an immediate execution of a deportation is therefore possible.

In the case of asylum seekers from safe countries of origin, the procedure can also be accelerated from the outset - i.e. with a shorter decision-making period. Otherwise, the procedure before the Federal Office remains unchanged. Each applicant receives their own individual procedure.

In addition to the Western Balkans, Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Georgia and Mongolia are currently considered safe countries of origin.