UNHCR has access to asylum seekers without restrictions, while lawyers can visit their clients during working hours in a special visitor room. NGOs have access if they have obtained authorisation to act as legal representative of the detainee, which is obtained without delay in practice.
Other visitors such as relatives or friends have restricted possibilities to visit. Visits have to be allowed by the police for at least 30 minutes per week. In addition, restrictions may be imposed to detainees who are separated from other detainees and are put in security cells due to their behaviour, such as suicide attempts, hunger strike or violence. Visiting hours are limited to the weekend and early evening hours, and direct contact is not possible as the visit takes place in a room where the asylum seeker is separated from the visitor by a glass window. In the centre of Vordernberg, direct contact is made possible because of the presence of video cameras. Visits of media or politicians are usually not permitted. This centre has been presented to the public as an example of improvement of Austria’s return policy.
Representatives of the churches have agreements with the police to visit detainees on a regular basis.