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Austria will Remain an Asylum Country with Tradition

Published: October 28, 2015; 17:00 · (FriedlNews)

Since 1945 more than two million refugees have come to Austria, whereby almost 700,000 have remained here - that is about 9 per cent of the total population of Austria. Every second refugee had a different mother tongue than German. The refugee crises occurred in a mysterious sequence, as every twelve years, large waves of refugees arrived in Austria: 1956, 1968, 1980 and 1992.

Austria: A History of Helping / Picture: © BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres


When 180,000 Hungarians came to Austria in 1956/57, there were already 114,000 refugees from the years after World War II who had to be cared for. 20,000 of them still lived in refugee camps.


After the Warsaw Pact troops marched into former Czechoslovakia in 1968, Austria experienced the second large wave of refugees.

162,000 Czechs and Slovaks found safety by fleeing to Austria.

The majority of them could return home but 30,000 immigrated further and 2,000 settled in Austria for good.

On the basis of internationally agreed quotas, Austria accepted non-European refugees (1,500 Ugandans of Asian origin) for the first time in 1972.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Kurdish refugees then followed.


The next huge population movement out of Eastern Europe began in 1980/81, when martial law was declared in Poland.

33,000 refugees arrived in Austria.

Nine out of ten Poles resettled in third countries.


As of 1991/92 the armed conflicts on the Balkans led to three large waves of expulsion:

In 1991/92 about 13,000 displaced persons arrived from Croatia.

In 1992 the first of the 90,000 de facto refugees started to come from Bosnia.

When the conflict in Kosovo escalated in spring 1999, Austria accepted more than 5,000 refugees.