The centers of initial reception of refugees in Austria will become the centers of departure starting on March 1, with thorough checks of asylum applicants’ identities being introduced there, Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said on Monday.
“I can inform you that starting on March 1 of this year there will no longer be initial reception centers in Austria, but there will be centers of departure [from Austria],” Kickl said at a press conference.
According to the minister, the centers will be carefully checking the identities of people applying for asylum.
“We will study the trip routes of the newcomers and, of course, predict the potential threat from them, cooperating with the police and, when necessary, with experts from the regional and federal agencies for the protection of the constitution and the fight against terrorism [counterintelligence],” he said.
In addition to travel routes, the centers will also quickly find out the reasons for seeking asylum, and in the absence of the grounds to stay in Austria, migrants will be given advice on how to return to the country from which they came.
The minister also noted that migrants would be offered to sign a voluntary agreement for mandatory presence at the centers from 10:00 p.m. (21:00 GMT) to 6:00 a.m. (5:00 GMT).
European countries have been experiencing a severe migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees, fleeing crises and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.