Austria’s far-right government to impose sanctions on immigrants who don’t “integrate”

Leader of Austria's far-right Freedom [arty, Heinz-Christian Strache

Austria’s new far-right government has unveiled plans to impose financial sanctions on immigrants who fail to “integrate” with mainstream society.

The new government agreed a deal at the weekend with provisions set to make life more difficult for mainly Muslim immigrants in the country.

The deal says that immigrants who are judged to be “refusing to integrate” should expect “sanctions”.

One specific policy outlined in the agreement includes a cut to the basic level of support payments for asylum seekers.

The reduction can be recouped by families by earning an “integration bonus” if they are deemed to be adopting Austrian culture, as defined by the government.

The programme also calls for faster deportations of asylum seekers and says undocumented immigration will be halted, as well as vowing to stop the creation of “parallel societies”.

Government ministries are split between the two parties under the agreement, with the far-right taking control of defence, the interior ministry – which includes security and citizenship – and the foreign ministry.

The conservatives will be running the finance, justice business and education ministries.

“We want to protect our homeland Austria as a liveable place with all its cultural assets. This includes deciding for ourselves who can immigrate and live with us and ending illegal immigration,” the agreement states.

Austria becomes the only western European country with a far-right party in government after the anti-immigration Freedom Party and Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives struck a coalition deal to share power almost equally.

Police said between 5,000 to 6,000 people attended a demonstration against the new government in front of the palace as the inauguration ceremony took place.

 

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