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Austria Conditions Family Reunification on DNA Testing

The Austrian People's Party intends to utilize DNA tests on migrants in cases where doubts arise regarding their documentation upon entry into the country.
Austria Conditions Family Reunification on DNA Testing

Austria plans to implement DNA testing for refugees seeking family reunification in the country as a measure to manage the influx of refugees more effectively.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced the expansion of DNA testing for refugees during an interview with the Kronen Zeitung newspaper. The objective is to tighten controls on family reunification procedures to address potential fraud.

“We will enforce strict controls on family reunification,” stated Chancellor Nehammer.

The extent of fraudulent activities within these processes has not yet been specified.

Emphasizing the importance of robust border security and collaboration with Western Balkan countries, Nehammer highlighted their role in reducing migrant numbers at the Austrian border.

“Now, the next challenge we face is family reunification, and I want to make it clear: we will regulate it through rigorous controls,” Nehammer reiterated.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has complicated efforts to reunite close relatives of recognized refugees, particularly in the capital city of Vienna, where there has been a significant surge in applications.

Nehammer’s Austrian People’s Party intends to utilize DNA tests on migrants in cases where doubts arise regarding their documentation upon entry into the country.

According to the Austrian website Dagens, this DNA policy can be implemented without requiring consent from coalition partners, such as the Green Party.

However, proposals like allowing only financially self-sufficient migrants will need approval at the EU level.

In the first quarter, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior recorded approximately 6,900 asylum applications, with 45% of them being for family reunification, a notable increase from the previous year’s 16%.

The ministry reported a 32% decrease in asylum applications during the first three months of 2024 compared to 2023.

Nearly half of the applications were from minors seeking family reunification, indicating a significant rise from the previous year. This increase coincides with a greater number of migrant children who do not speak German.

Austria had also considered a UK proposal to relocate some asylum seekers to third countries to alleviate migration pressures.

Recent statistics from the Austrian Interior Ministry reveal that nearly two-thirds of asylum applications in 2024 have been submitted by Syrians. Despite this, the overall number of asylum applications in Austria continues to decline, with a decrease in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year, as reported by the Kronen newspaper.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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