What is the role of UNHCR in Austria?
The Austrian Government has the responsibility to process asylum claims and to decide whether somebody can be granted protection in Austria. In Austria, therefore, UNHCR does not register refugees, UNHCR does not examine asylum applications and UNHCR does not issue refugee documents. Furthermore, UNHCR is not involved in the accommodation of refugees. The government is responsible for that.
In Austria, UNHCR closely monitors the government’s compliance with international standards of refugee law and drafts legal statements with regards to the Austrian asylum framework. For these purposes, we closely co-operate with NGO legal counsellors, lawyers, the Austrian asylum authorities (BFA) and the courts.
UNHCR advocates for swift access to fair and efficient asylum procedures but cannot exert any influence on the proceedings which are conducted by the Austrian authorities.
UNHCR is also active in raising awareness for refugee topics and works together with NGOs, schools, youth organisations etc.
UNHCR in Austria cannot offer any individual counselling. Free-of-charge legal counselling for asylum-seekers and refugees in offered by specialized counseling organizations. See for an overview the help page of the Austrian authorities and the NGO asylkoordination. UNHCR closely cooperates with these organisations and they will alert us as appropriate.
How to contact UNHCR in Austria?
Please note that UNHCR in Austria does not offer any appointments for individual counselling. If you are an asylum-seeker or a refugee in Austria and need advice on which Austrian organization might be best placed to assist you, please contact us at:
PO Box 550