The situation for immigrants in Austria is harder than in many other European countries. It is because of the lack of necessary political conditions and the difficult access to the labour market for strangers. This shows the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) that examines the integration policies of 31 countries. Austria is ranked on 24th, which is far below the EU average.
Sweden shows the best result and Latvia the worst one. In other established immigration countries immigrants have better opportunities in terms of political participation, citizenship and the fight against discrimination. MIPEX is published every two years and assess the integration policy on the basis of 148 indicators in the 27 EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, the United States and Canada. The research includes the situation of migrants in the labour market, at the family reunion, naturalization, or the anti-discrimination provisions for the acquisition of citizenship. Sweden is at the top with 83 points, followed by Portugal (79) and Canada (72). Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, the USA, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany are following. Austria reached only 42 points after Switzerland, and is well below the EU average of 52 points.
One of the greatest barriers for immigrants is the difficulty to get the Austrian citizenship. The naturalization process in Austria is one of the riskiest and most expensive across the other European countries. The criteria and conditions for family reunification in Austria are among the most severe. Only sometimes non-EU citizens have immediate and equal access to job-related training and student support. Currently, Austria supports the mobility of the labour market, not to the same extent as the established immigration countries. Recently there have been strengthened actions to employ immigrants, but because of existing barriers they are not able to use their full potential. Therefore, for instance, neatly settled non-EU citizens are bounded to a specific employer and must take labour market tests every time when they want to change their job. At the same time they examine, whether the job is taken away from an Austrian. The process for the acceptance of foreign qualifications makes the search for a suitable employment at the appropriate level of education also very challenging.
More information you can find on: http://www.mipex.eu/