Asylum seekers must receive written information leaflets in a language they understand after lodging the application and prior to the first interview. These information sheets are also available on the website of the BFA in 12 different languages. At the beginning of the interview, the applicant must be informed about his or her rights and obligations throughout the procedure.
The BFA has published a brochure about the asylum procedure on its website. This brochure is in German and is aimed to inform Austrians.
The following information is available in 11 languages on the website of the BFA:
- The “first information sheet” explains the first steps and possible outcomes in the admissibility procedure including mandatory or voluntary advice on return including information;
- Information sheet on the duties and rights of asylum seekers;
- Information for asylum seekers according the Eurodac Regulation;
- A short written information regarding the Dublin III Regulation.
Several NGOs also provide information on the procedure on their respective websites, such as Diakonie, Caritas or asylkoordination. In December 2018, UNHCR published a brochure “to inform unaccompanied refugee children about their situation and their rights in the asylum system. This brochure is available in German, English, Arabi, Dari, Pashtu, Somali.
Detailed written information in languages other than German and English about the different steps of the procedure and rules and obligations does not exist so far. As asylum legislation changes very often, it does not seem to be affordable for NGOs to have brochures or other written information in the various languages required.
Useful explanations of terminology for asylum seekers from the Russian Federation were developed by an NGO from the federal state of Styria in cooperation with the University of Graz. UNHCR has also produced a brochure about the asylum procedure for unaccompanied child refugees. It is available in four languages (German, English, Pashtu, Dari). The Refugee Law Clinic of Vienna, an association formed by students at the Law Department of the University Vienna, also provides answers to “frequently asked questions”, which are available online in German, English, Somali. Pashtu, Arabic and Farsi.
Asylum seekers against whom an enforceable – but not yet final – expulsion order is issued shall be informed in an appropriate manner (i.e. through a leaflet in a language understandable to them, if available) that, for the notification of decisions in the asylum procedure, they can access legal assistance and that they are obliged to inform the authority of their place of residence and address, including outside Austria.
The system of free legal advice should, at least, provide information and counselling during the mandatory consultation with the appointed legal adviser in case the BFA intends to reject the asylum application as inadmissible or dismiss it on the merits in the admissibility procedure. The BFA has to include information in its decision about the right to appeal in a language understandable to the applicant. Besides the mother tongue, this could be the lingua franca of a country. In the decision of the Federal Administrative Court (BVwG), reference shall also be made, in a language understandable to the asylum seeker, to the possibility of filing a complaint in front of the Administrative High Court (VwGH) and the Constitutional Court (VfGH).
For Dublin cases, a project entitled “Go Dublin” – funded by AMIF – assists the authorities to enable quick transfers. The project is run by VMÖ, an association that has a close working relationship with the authorities and that does not cooperate with NGOs. As already mentioned, this organisation also provides information and advice on voluntary return. This is why it is unknown whether and how comprehensive information is provided in Dublin cases. The aim of the project is to inform asylum seekers about the Dublin system, modalities and time limits of transfer. The information about the project activities that is published on the website of the organisation, however, has not substantially changed for several years. There is only one case explaining the assistance offered by the organisation to enable the transfer of two Chechen women to Poland.  Although this project is funded by AMIF, no further information is available.
At every stage of the procedure, asylum seekers are informed about the possibility of support for voluntary return. In the waiting rooms of the initial reception centres, videos providing information on voluntary return are streamed.
The BFA can also order consultation with regard to return. This is systematically done when a return decision is issued. When an asylum seeker leaves the country in the context of voluntary repatriation to his or her country of origin, the asylum proceeding is filed as redundant.
 Articles 15(1)(4) and 14(4) AsylG explaining the duty to register even for delivering letters abroad.
 Article 133(4) B-VG; Article 30 VwG-VG.
 Ministry of Interior, List of AMIF funded projects 2017-2019 (Asylum and Return), available in German at: https://bit.ly/2BJO8Mv; Verein Menchenrechte Osterreich, Information on Dublin Procedures, available at: http://bit.ly/1NrSLac.
 The website is available in German at: https://bit.ly/1NrSLac.