Posted on May 6, 2024

Austria Will Now Use DNA Tests to Limit Family Reunification

John Cody, Remix, May 6, 2024

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer wants to curb the influx of migrants entering the country due to family reunification by utilizing DNA tests and other checks. However, the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) of Austria is calling for far more stringent controls on family reunification, including setting the chain migration quota to zero.

On Sunday, the head of Austria’s government announced the increased use of genetic tests to prove family relationships, a move that he announced in the run-up to the EU parliamentary elections as his government comes under enormous pressure due to record levels of immigration.

The Austrian chancellor belongs to the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), which is currently in a coalition with the Green party. The rival FPÖ has long attacked the ÖVP as being weak on migration, with the FPÖ promoting the Fortress Europe policy package. The FPÖ also wants a complete ban on family reunification, a move that would drastically reduce immigration to Austria and, if implemented throughout Europe, would not only curtail immigration but even lead to potentially millions of foreigners simply leaving EU nations.

In fact, just last month, the FPÖ, which is currently the most popular party in the country, called for ending family reunification entirely, with Lower Austrian FPÖ Asylum State Councilor Dr. Christoph Luisser stating: “We are setting the family reunification quota to zero.”

“ÖVP Interior Minister Karner has not yet brought together a new settlement regulation. As a result, family reunifications are forced every month, which clearly contradicts the interests of Lower Austria,” added Luisser.

The issue of family reunification is plagued with fraudulent activity across the Western world, often with migrants openly flouting the system to bring in dozens of so-called family members and charging a fee for it, as is the case in Germany involving one notorious Nigerian migrant. Austria is having the same issues.

The ÖVP’s watered-down DNA test measure will also be introduced along with other methods designed to slow down family reunification, but not stop them entirely. However, critics are also noting that these DNA tests are already conducted in cases where documents are in doubt.

Ultimately, there are enough legitimate family members for migrants to ensure a steady stream of immigrants through family reunification, while only curtailing egregious fraud, which was often already detected when documents were found to be suspect.

Under the new rules, security checks will be conducted with the help of document experts, and security officers are to take more stringent methods, Nehammer told the Austrian news agency APA.

“We will restrict family reunification through strict checks,” said the chancellor. He did disclose how many cases of fraud authorities have discovered.

While family reunification was slowed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the flow of migrants through this process is picking up steam, especially in Vienna. As a result, the educational system is buckling under the pressure.

According to City Councillor for Education Christoph Wiederkehr, schools need to find spots for 350 new children every month. As a result, schools are turning to building construction containers for new classrooms to deal with the unrelenting flow of newcomers.

The Austrian Ministry of the Interior registered around 6,900 asylum applications in the first quarter of 2024. Of these, 45 percent were made by migrants who obtained an entry permit as part of family reunification. In 2023, this proportion was only 16 percent, signaling that more and more migrants are using chain migration to gain a foothold in Austria.