Controlled migration or the choosy state

Fifteen years after the Second World War, Austria and West Germany had full employment and a shortage of labour. Labour migration began in the 1960s when recruitment agreements were signed with Turkey, Yugoslavia, etc. Applicants were screened in their home countries for age, health, qualifications and language competence, and hundreds of thousands of them were encouraged to come to Austria. With the 1973 oil crisis – and the end of the illusion of unlimited growth – more restrictive labour market rules were introduced. Seasonal workers especially have been denied the right of continuous abode – and deprived of related rights – since 2002. With the introduction of the Red-and-White Card in 2011, Austria tried to adapt the models employed in Canada and Australia, where immigration is limited to qualified persons in defined occupations. So far with only limited success.

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