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. UNHCR has the right to be present in any interview and oral hearings and is allowed to get in contact with the applicants at any time. UNHCR has also access to airport facilities in the border procedures where the authorities have to ask for UNHCR’s consent for rejecting decisions.
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 are only paid by BBU GmbH if it is necessary i.e. in preparation for a court session.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were restrictions on visits and at times bans on visits by external persons in general, with the exception of external services such as nursing or home help. This continued in 2021.
 BGBl. II Nr. 2005/2 and 2008/146.
 Article 31 AsylG; Article 63 AsylG