The EU should not give asylum seekers access to labour markets as this would attract additional migrants, Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in an interview published Thursday, rejecting a proposal by the European Commission.
"Granting work permits to asylum seekers is unthinkable," the conservative minister told German daily Die Welt.
"It would amount to a call to people in crisis countries to come to Austria. Our domestic job market would not be able to handle it," he added.
The EU executive had unveiled measures Wednesday aimed at cracking down on asylum seekers who abuse EU rules to seek out the most generous countries.
The plan also included a rule that labour market access must be given within six months after an asylum seeker files his protection claim, and within three months if the application looks to be well-founded.
More than 1 million refugees and migrants reached Europe in 2015. Austria received 90,000 asylum claims last year and has reacted by adopting increasingly restrictive immigration policies.