Border procedure (border and transit zones)

Austria

Country Report: Border procedure (border and transit zones) Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Asylkoordination Österreich Visit Website

General (scope, time limits)

Austria has no land border with third countries. All neighbouring states are Schengen Associated States and Member States, party to the Dublin Regulation.

Asylum seekers who apply for international protection at the airport are transferred after the interview by the police to the building of the police station with the initial reception centre and the rejection zone. On the basis of the first interview, the BFA decides whether the procedure shall be processed under the special regulations of the airport procedure, or if the case should be considered under the regular procedure and the asylum seeker should be summoned by the BFA.[1]

If the BFA intends to reject the application in the airport procedure, UNHCR has to be informed within one week, a time limit which is generally respected.[2] If the time limit is not met, the application is admitted to the regular procedure and the asylum seeker is allowed entry.[3] Moreover, UNHCR is entitled to contribute to the procedure (e.g. examine the application and talk to the applicant) and to issue opinions, which are usually followed by the BFA. However, UNHCR’s involvement during the airport procedure remains limited in practice due to financial constraints and data on the number of cases concerned are not available. In the context of Dublin procedures at the airport, however, UNHCR is not involved.

Under Article 33(1) AsylG, an asylum application lodged at the airport can only be rejected as inadmissible or dismissed on the merits on two grounds:

  1. Inadmissibility because of existing protection in a Safe Third Country; or
  2. Dismissal on the merits if there is no substantial evidence that the asylum seeker should be granted protection status and:
  1. the applicant tried to mislead the authorities about his identity, citizenship or authenticity of his documents and was previously informed about the negative consequences of doing so;
  2. the applicant’s claims relating to the alleged persecution are obviously unfounded;
  3. the applicant did not claim any persecution at all; or
  4. the applicant comes from a Safe Country of Origin.

De facto detention, whereby the asylum seekers are forced to stay in the initial reception centre at the airport, is ordered to implement negative decisions at the border and can only be maintained for a maximum duration of six weeks. Therefore, at this stage, a decision rejecting the asylum application on the merits or as inadmissible is issued without an expulsion order. Rejection at the border may be enforced only after a final decision on the asylum application.

Most cases processed at the airport were Dublin procedures and most decisions that were considered as manifestly unfounded at the airport were appealed. In 2018, only 1 appeal was successful while the other 11 appeals were rejected.[4] In 2019, the BVwG rejected all 22 appeals of asylum seekers originating from India, Iran, Philippines, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Russia and Cuba.

In 2016, a reform entered into force to allow for special measures at the border for the maintenance of public order during border checks, which will effectively enable police authorities to deprive asylum seekers of access to the asylum procedure (see Access to the Territory). As of January 2020, the measure was still not implemented in practice.

 

Personal interview

 

In procedures at the airport, only one personal interview is conducted.[5] There are no other differences with interviews under the regular procedure. However, as already mentioned, UNHCR plays an active role in the processing of asylum applications in the airport procedure as it can issue binding opinions. Asylum applications can thus be rejected only upon approval of UNHCR, otherwise they must be processed in the regular procedure.

 

Appeal

 

The time limit for lodging appeals against a decision by the BFA in procedures at the airport is 1 week.[6] The BVwG must issue its decision within 2 weeks from the submission of the complaint.[7] A hearing in the appeal proceedings must be conducted at the initial reception centre at the airport,[8] yet this rarely happens in practice.

 

Legal assistance

 

The Swiss company ORS, which is contracted by the Ministry of Interior for the provision of basic care in the reception centres of the Ministry of Interior, is also responsible for the provision of legal assistance to asylum seekers in the airport special transit centre.

However, the new Federal Agency on Care and Support Services (BBU) who will be responsible for providing basic care during border procedures, is likely to take over the responsibility for the provision legal assistance as well.

 


[1]  Article 31(1) AsylG.

[2]  Article 32(2) AsylG.

[3] Article 33(2) AsylG.

[4] Information obtained through the legal information system (RIS), Decisions of the BVwG.

[5]  Article 33(2) AsylG.

[6]  Article 33(3) AsylG.

[7]  Article 33(4) AsylG.

[8]  Article 33(4) AsylG.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation