The next few weeks could be crucial for almost 700 job trainees who risk deportation after being denied asylum, reversing a government commitment in July 2018 that “asylum seekers… doing an apprenticeship would be allowed to complete their programs” (Minister of Economy, Margarete Schramböck).  

The Green Party’s Rudolf Anschober (Greens), has called on Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to make addressing this issue a top priority. Along with the ethical issues, the Upper Austrian integration minister and initiator of the campaign “Ausbildung statt Abschiebung” (Training Instead of Deportation) points to a recent study demonstrating  a loss to the economy of about €100,000 per trainee, needed in professions with labor shortages. The supermarket chain Spar, one of the 70,000 supporters of Anschober’s cause, attests to that, with CEO Gerhard Drexel stating: “We can train 2,700 apprentices. We’re always 300 to 400 short.” With the companies’ urgent needs and the trainee’s excellent achievements, Anschober believes the government cannot stand by and watch hundreds of young people who are contributing to the economy be deported.