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Salzburg state wants to integrate refugees as quickly as possible

Salzburg to fix labour shortage with Ukrainian refugees

Salzburg to fix labour shortage with Ukrainian refugees

Despite few Ukrainian arrivals in this Austrian state, authorities have been making preparations for an influx

Last week, authorities in the Austrian Federal State of Salzburg said that they expected an influx of refugees and would prepare accordingly with admission centres. The centres should be fully operational by the end of this week and there will be two of them, one at the train station and one at the Salzburg Exhibition Centre.

Local authorities have said that they plan to operate with as little bureaucracy as possible to integrate Ukrainian refugees quickly. This was echoed by the EU’s decision to allow Ukrainians a stay of up to one year before they have to apply for additional documents.

At the same time, Salzburg’s Deputy Governor Heinrich Schellhorn explained that the unfortunate situation is an opportunity for the State of Salzburg to mitigate the current labour shortage.

Accommodating the growing number of refugees

Salzburg authorities will use a mixture of state-funded shelters, private citizens and hotels to provide accommodation for the refugees. According to a statement by the city, there is accommodation for at least 500 people. 250 spaces have been provided by charitable citizens and a further 250 by private hotels.

The main point of contact for new arrivals will be at the Salzburg Exhibition Centre, where authorities will collaborate with Caritas and the Red Cross. There, people will be tested for COVID-19, given medical care if necessary and referred to accommodations.

At the same time, people arriving at the train station would have access to emergency accommodation, which Caritas should set up in the near future. The state expects large numbers of people to be travelling by train, partially because the ÖBB offers free rides for Ukrainian refugees.

Unaccompanied minor refugees and kids will be transferred to local child protective services, who will act as sponsors and look for host families.

Specialists wanted

Upon arrival at the Salzburg Exhibition Centre, local authorities will register refugees’ professional qualifications when they are first admitted. This measure will allow authorities to expedite the process of integrating them into a working environment.

According to the ORF, authorities are considering a number of other integration measures, such as German courses, enrolment for children and possibly requalification courses. Heinrich Schellhorn was quoted, explaining that Salzburg has a low unemployment rate of 4.1% and desperately needs more labour.

Thus, the unfortunate situation presents an opportunity for the region. He continued: “We urgently need workers. That's why we want to find out quickly what they can do professionally.”

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