The typical migrant worker?

In 1956 and 1964, Austria was a haven for Hungarians and Czechoslovaks, and in the 1990s for refugees from civil war in Yugoslavia. As long as they have a job, EU citizens can freely choose the country in which they wish to live and work. When Austrians speak of people “with a migration background”, however, they normally mean migrant Turkish labour and their children. And yet the statistics tell quite a different story: Out of a total of 971 000 persons of foreign nationality living in Austria in 2012, 227 000 were from Germany, 209 000 from Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, 186 000 from Turkey and 133 000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today’s emotional integra- tion debate, therefore, does not relate to Austria’s biggest group of immigrants at all but to the visible presence of certain groups and the changing self-image of those who have already been in the country for some time.

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