With exception of the total number of places in private accommodation, all figures above refer strictly to the federal centres (if not explicitly stated otherwise), as it is not possible to provide figures on the number of apartments and houses used at provincial level to accommodate asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are accommodated in facilities of different size and capacity. A quota system requires the federal provinces to provide places according to their population.
Each of the 9 federal provinces has a department in the regional government responsible for administering Basic Care. These departments search suitable accommodation places, and conclude contracts with NGOs or landlords, owners of hotels or inns, to provide a certain number of places and Basic Care provisions. Regular meetings of the heads of the provincial departments and the Ministry of Interior take place to evaluate the functioning of the Basic Care system and the level of financial compensation for the federal provinces. According to the Basic Care agreement between the State and the federal provinces, the latter have to cover 40% of the expenditures, while the Federal Ministry has to pay 60% of the costs. This share of the Ministry of Interior could rise to 100% if an asylum application is not processed within due time. After 6 months 100% of the accommodation costs of the provinces are covered by the Ministry.
During the first year of activity of the BBU GmbH in 2021, the main challenge was to provide shelter as the agency was confronted to the sharp increase of applications and had to integrate staff from different companies and NGOs at operational level. Moreover, given that the reimbursement of the costs for accommodation in the provinces has not been adjusted for years and following the decrease of applications in 2019 and 2020, many NGO-led accommodation centres in the provinces had closed. As a result, many applicants already admitted to the asylum procedure had to be accommodated in federal reception centres pending a transfer. In 2021, the BBU GmbH reopened all available centres across the territory and reached its capacity limits at the end of the year. This is supposedly also one of the reasons why the Director of the BBU GmbH (“Geschäftsführer”), whose contract was prolonged in May 2021, resigned in October 2021. He withdrew his resignation in December 2021, but the reasons were not officially communicated.
As of February 2022, the capacity of BBU GmbH for providing accommodation to applicants during the admissibility procedure is still at the limit due to massive problems in transfers. Interestingly, the number of individuals receiving basic care has not increased significantly since 2019 while the number of applications rose significantly in 2021. This means that a great share of the persons applying for asylum moved onward to other countries with the result of their asylum procedures being discontinued in Austria. Reports communicated to asylkoordination österreich indicate that applicants moved to other countries because Austria was not their final destination but also because of the difficult accommodation situation in overcrowded reception centres. After admission phase of the asylum procedure is finished the responsibility to house asylum seekers during their asylum procedure shifts to the provinces. Throughout 2022, 17,286 asylum seekers were transferred from the EAST to the provinces.
Federal reception capacity
The initial reception centre serves as centre for asylum seekers with an admissibility procedure likely to be rejected. The 2 initial reception centres in Traiskirchen and in Thalham are therefore reserved for asylum seekers in the admissibility procedure and for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children as long as they are not transferred to reception facilities of the federal provinces. Instead of streaming all asylum seekers to the initial reception centre, they should have their first accommodation in the so-called distribution centres (VQ), which should be set up in 7 federal provinces. Traiskirchen serves as a VQ too. The federal centre in Fieberbrunn is used for rejected asylum seekers, and another former federal centre at the Vienna airport serves as a departure centre. NGOs reported that the federal centre in Graz-Andritzhosts rejected asylum-seekers too. The Ministry of Interior announced in October 2018 the closure of 7 of the remaining 20 reception facilities, including the special care centre in Upper Austria and the distribution center in Styria-Graz Puntigam. Due to the low number of asylum seekers two more federal centres have been closed in 2019. As of July 2019, there were thus 11 federal reception centres with a total capacity of 2,203 places, out of which only 868 were in use in July 2019. The average cost per person accommodated in a federal centre is €183 per day. As of December 2021, the maximum capacity in federal facilities was 6,898. 
Newly arrived asylum seekers stay only 4 to 5 days in the distribution centres according to information from the Centre in Ossiach. From January to May 2018, asylum seekers spent an average of 19 days in the course of the basic admission procedure in federal care facilities. The number of asylum seekers in the initial reception centre of Traiskirchen, which reportedly has inhuman living conditions, has also sharply decreased, from 5,000 asylum seekers to about 500 at the end of 2018. At the end of 2020, around 1,200 persons, among which around 1,000 were asylum seekers, were accommodated in Traiskirchen.
As already mentioned, as of December 2020, there were 13 federal centres hosting a total of 1,750 persons. The law allows the Ministry of Interior to open reception facilities in federal provinces that do not fulfil the reception quota. Such centres may be opened even when the facility is not adapted to host asylum seekers, provided that certain special safeguards are ensured such as fire protection and related building regulations. Since 2018, however, such centres were not needed. During the first lockdown, the provinces protested against the opening of federal Centres in Leoben (Styria). Due to the protests, the Ministry of Interior did not open any new centres in provinces during the first lockdown but reported challenges in accommodating asylum applicants, since COVID-19 prevention measures require lower occupancy and separate accommodation. The COVID-19 measures upheld in 2021 resulted in lower capacity due to distancing rules established in the centres. All newly arriving persons were tested twice and isolated until the test result was made available. As of 25 September, 118 asylum applicants tested positive for COVID-19. A positive test result implies that many parts of the entire facility cannot be used for the duration of the quarantine. The Ministry of Interior opened new reception facilities in Villach (Carinthia) in May 2020, as well as in Vienna.
In case of larger numbers of arrivals and difficulties in transferring asylum seekers to reception facilities in the federal provinces, the Federal State may host asylum seekers even after their asylum application is admitted to the regular asylum procedure for a maximum period of 14 days.
In 2022, federal reception capacity reached its limit. Due to the lack of cooperation of the provinces to take over asylum seekers after admission phase, a huge backlog of persons already admitted to the procedure had to stay in the federal reception centres.
In June 2022, the Ministry of Interior and BBU GmbH asked the provinces to live up to their obligations to take over asylum seekers as agreed in the Basic Care agreement and warned of a possible collapse of the federal reception centres in case of non-cooperation. This lack of accommodation in the provinces has many reasons. First, the basic care system is chronically underfinanced which consequently leads to the fact that costs can barely be covered for the accommodation providers. Second, while financial resources were raised for the provinces in June 2022, implementation in some provinces took almost another half year. During this time, the high cost of living due to high inflation rates already raised the real costs more than the raise of the financial resources would cover. Third, after the start of the Russian aggression around 50,000 Ukrainians had to be accommodated in the basic care system. However, most of the Ukrainians are accommodated in private housing. Moreover, in three provinces there were elections which led to a lack of cooperation in the takeover of asylum seekers due to public debate.
Between July and December 2022, there were 80,000 asylum applications in Austria. In the same time, the provinces increased their accommodation places in the basic care system by a couple hundred places maximum per province and in the case of the largest province, Niederösterreich, even decreased the accommodation places for asylum seekers from 1,450 (June) to 1,330 (December 2022). This led to the collapse of the federal reception centres in October, when the CEO of the BBU GmbH announced that asylum seekers will have to be accommodated in tents on the grounds of the federal reception centres.
Reception capacity at provincial level
In practice, most federal provinces do not provide the number of places required under their quota, which is partly due to the fact that provinces such as Vienna exceed their quota (almost double of the quota agreed). At the end of 2022, the entire Austrian reception system hosted a total of 92,984 (2021: 30,075) persons (including beneficiaries of international protection and rejected asylum applicants), out of which 21,661 (2021: 17,138) were asylum applicants. The distribution across the federal provinces is detailed in Freedom of Movement. While Vienna continues to exceed its relative reception share, other federal provinces only reached 50-60% of the quota agreed. Due to the high number of Ukrainians entering Austria after 24 February 2022, the basic care system in the provinces had to accommodate a large number of refugees in a dysfunctional basic care system. Around 78% of the Ukrainian refugees were accommodated privately at the start. This share has gone down to 70% at the start of 2023. Refugees from Ukraine are the responsibility of the basic care systems of the provinces due to the fact that there is no admission phase (for which the basic care system in the federal centres would be responsible). For further information, please see the annex on temporary protection.
NGOs or owners of hostels and inns, who run reception centres under the responsibility of the federal provinces, have contracts with the governmental department of the respective federal provinces. While in some federal provinces almost all asylum seekers are placed in reception centres (e.g. 90% of asylum seekers in Styria and 70% in Burgenland), private accommodation is more often used in others states such as Vienna, where 70% of applicants lived in private accommodation.
|Federal state||Private accommodation||Basic care facility|
Own illustration based on nationwide NGO survey on basic services Dec 21/Jan 22 by asylkoordination österreich.
 Article 1(4) GVV-Art.15a.
 NÖN.at, Flüchtlingsbewegung als Herkulesaufgabe, 20 November 2018; available in German at: https://bit.ly/2GvcayP.
 Ministry of Interior, Care information system, unpublished.
 Information provided by the federal provinces.