Austria seeks to keep out migrants with advertisement campaigns

Austria plans to deter potential migrants from even leaving their countries with slogans such as "Austria's asylum law has now become even stricter!"

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner on Tuesday presented an information campaign that will be launched in Afghanistan and is set to be rolled out also in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

The Vienna government will have posters put up in the largest Afghan cities and on buses in Kabul with messages including "Only Temporary Asylum," which refers to a new rule under which Austrian authorities check every three years whether refugees still need protection.

Another poster reads "No Asylum in Austria," with the additional phrase "on economic grounds" written in much smaller letters.

Two other poster designs warn of restrictions on family members joining migrants in Austria, while the fine print makes clear that these restrictions do not apply to refugees.

"It is a matter of fairness that we inform people in their countries that Austria has toughened its asylum laws," Mikl-Leitner said.

People in Afghanistan had "a lot of opportunities to seek refuge within their own country," the conservative minister said.

Mikl-Leitner has been the main driver of tougher immigration and border policies over the past month, which have drawn criticism from the United Nations and the EU Commission.

The Austrian government has changed tack after taking in 90,000 refugees last year, arguing it needed a national solution in the absence of a fair European deal for sharing the burden.

Last update: Tue, 01/03/2016 - 20:15

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