The messenger logo

Austria puts Georgia on list of safe countries

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, February 19
Austria included Georgia on its list of countries considered safe or low risk, shortening the consideration time for Georgian asylum seekers to a maximum of 10 days, Austria’s Interior Ministry said in an official press release. The regulations came into force on February 17, 2016. Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Mongolia and Tunis were added to the list as well.

Germany launched a similar initiative earlier this year in an attempt to decrease the country’s migrant flow.

Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, India, Mali, Mongolia, Algeria, Gambia and Bangladesh have all been included on both Austria’s and Germany’s list of safe countries.

Georgia’s Ambassador to Austria, Konstantine Zaldastanishvili, evaluated the change positively. According to him, putting Georgia on the list of safe countries will positively effect the ongoing process of visa liberalization with the EU.

“This list includes countries in which there is no political persecution, inhuman or degrading treatment and where democratic reforms have been implemented,” stated Zaldastanishvili.

The Ambassador confirmed that after Austria’s decision, citizens of Georgia will have difficulty in receiving asylum.

“Migrants originating from safe countries usually do not receive asylum after applying for it. In addition, their cases are discussed in a shorter term, usually within a ten day period. The reason for that is, of course, the fact that their countries of origin are not on the list of dangerous countries,” stated Zaldastanishvili.

Austria has stiffened procedures for accepting migrants into the country. Last year, Austria received more then 90, 000 migrants. This number is equal to 1 % of Austria’s total population.

Austria explained its decision with the necessity of ensuring the safety of its own citizens. According to Austria’s government, only 80 migrant applications will be evaluated per day.