Austria Pushes for DNA Testing in Refugee Policy

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.06 - 2024 9:49 AM CET

The Austrian Chancellor supports DNA testing of refugees for family reunification purposes.

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Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has announced plans to expand DNA testing for refugees seeking to reunite with family members already residing in Austria.

In an interview with the Kronen Zeitung, Nehammer detailed this new directive aimed at tightening controls around family reunification.

Nehammer's party, the Austrian People's Party, wants to use DNA tests on migrants whenever there's any doubt about their paperwork upon entering the country.

The Chancellor stressed the need for strong border security and close collaboration with countries in the Western Balkans, which has significantly reduced the number of migrants at Austrian borders.

“Now family reunification is the next challenge we are tackling, and I am making it clear: we will limit family reunification through strict checks,” Nehammer stated.

New DNA Policy

This new DNA policy can be implemented without needing approval from their coalition partners, the Greens.

However, other proposals from Nehammer’s party, like only allowing financially self-sufficient migrants, would need to be agreed upon at the European Union level.

The Austrian Ministry of the Interior has noted a 32% drop in asylum applications in the first three months of 2024 compared to last year, with over 6,900 applications filed.

Nearly half of these applications were from minors seeking to reunite with family, a significant increase from 16% in 2023. This rise comes as Austria is seeing more migrant children who do not speak German.

Last year, Austria also considered a UK suggestion to send some asylum seekers to third countries to help lessen the migration pressure.

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