Austria to cut benefits for immigrants with poor language skills


Foreigners who have moved to Austria but have not yet picked up the language are set to be hit by a controversial reform to the country’s social welfare system, as the Right-wing governmentsteps up its efforts to deter immigration.

The plan presented by the Austrian government last week will penalise the unemployed by cutting €300 off their monthly dole payments if they do not fulfill certain language requirements. The government says that the money will instead go towards providing compulsory German classes.

Drawn up by the far-Right Freedom Party (FPÖ), the reforms would target immigrants and ethnic minorities in several ways. Foreseen is a sizeable cut in welfare payments to families with more than two children – a measure likely to particularly affect migrant families. Local authorities will also be compelled to tell the government how many welfare recipients in their region are from ethnic minorities.