UNHCR has unrestricted access to all reception centres. In the initial reception centres, access of legal advisers and NGOs to the reception buildings is not allowed, based on the argument that it would disrupt the private life of other asylum seekers. This restriction is laid down in a regulation introduced by the Minister of Interior (“Betreuungseinrichtung-Betretungsverordnung”) intending to secure order and preventing assaults to life, health or freedom and protecting the facility.
The restriction of access to the facilities does not apply to lawyers or legal representatives. Family members may meet their relatives in the visitors’ room, and legal advisers and NGOs in the premises of the BFA. In the federal provinces, NGOs with a contract for providing advice in social matters have access to the reception centres, while other NGOs have to ask for permission, sometimes on a case-by-case basis.
Asylum seekers living in reception centres located in remote areas usually have difficulties to contact NGOs, as they have to pay for public transportation on their own (their pocket money amounts to €40 per month). Travel costs for meetings with the appointed legal adviser should be paid by the organisations that provide legal advice, i.e. by VMÖ and ARGE Rechtsberatung. In the majority of cases, asylum seekers are only reimbursed by the organisations for one journey to meet their appointed legal adviser.
 BGBl. II Nr. 2005/2 and 2008/146.