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Vienna´s weekly European journal

Vienna seeks qualified migrants

Archived article from: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vienna seeks qualified migrants

Sandra Frauenberger
Executive city councillor for integration Sandra Frauenberger has long been trying to reach a broad consensus on increasing the number of qualified immigrants

A multilingual website and central contact points have been set up with a view to attracting skilled foreign workers to Vienna. This new head-hunting offensive is designed to provide the city with the qualified workers that it urgently needs.

A set of recommendations have been tabled by the nonpartisan Vienna Migrant Commission, established in 2009 on the initiative of Sandra Frauenberger, executive city councillor for integration, with the extensive backing of the Vienna SPÖ, ÖVP and Greens. The Commission published its first report in January 2010. The second report, drafted together with external experts, contains three specific recommendations. Frauenberger confirms that Vienna will do everything possible to make the city attractive for the targeted skilled workers. She says that in the next few months it will put together a general package of measures for businesses. The first specific project is the development of an Internet portal containing information about immigration and integration in Vienna and the services offered by the city.
The three recommended measures are:
Multilingual website as a virtual contact point for skilled foreigners containing information about coming to Vienna, available jobs, living in Vienna and work permits. It is tailored to different target groups and skills – from students and skilled workers to specialists and others with the highest qualifications. It is hoped in this way to simplify immigration and overcome bureaucratic hurdles.

Online job exchange to be installed on the website offering job seekers the possibility of posting their own qualification profiles to enable them to establish contact with companies, universities and research institutions and also to give notice of available jobs in Vienna.

Contact points for potential immigrants, not only in Vienna but also elsewhere, particularly in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where Vienna has had connections at the municipal and regional levels since the 1990s. They will operation on the one-stop-shop principle providing all required information from a single source, from details about Vienna and Austria to support with moving to and settling in Vienna, such as finding jobs and accommodation, bureaucratic procedures, health insurance and social security, or schooling for children.

"Integration" written on chalkboard
Migration and integration are the basis of prosperity for all in Vienna

Migration as precondition for prosperity
Sandra Frauenberger, Vienna’s executive city councillor for integration, told journalists that the Migration Commission had managed to established a “sensible and objective broad political alliance” that would continue to seek what was “best for Vienna”. It would serve as a brains trust for migration, integration and diversity, based on the shared recognition of the need to take advantage of the variety of skills and competences offered by both new and established migrants and in this way to safeguard prosperity. “We also need to ensure a good, open and respectful climate in our city, so that qualified migrants will feel welcome and accepted in Vienna,” she continued.
Easier recognition of diplomas
Asked about the continuing problem of recognition of foreign diplomas, Frauenberger replied that Vienna required the help of the federal government, which was responsible for this aspect. She cited the typical example of the foreign university professor who works as a taxi driver in Vienna because his qualification is not recognised and called for a simplification of the procedure and a central contact point for the recognition of foreign diplomas. A monitoring system could be set up to address qualified personnel directly, she added, so as to determine how many and what kind of skilled workers were required by companies now or in the future.

Rudolf Schicker, Christine Marek, Thomas Oliva, Sandra Frauenberger, David Ellensohn
From left: the head of the SPÖ faction in the Vienna municipal council Rudi Schicker, the head of the Vienna ÖVP faction Christine Marek, the chairman of the Vienna Immigration Commission Thomas Oliva, executive city councillor for integration Sandra Frauenberger, the head of Vienna’s Green faction David Ellensohn

Search for best migrants
“We are seeking to attract the people that Vienna needs,” said Thomas Oliva, chairman of the Migrant Commission. It would also be necessary to “change the attitude of the population to migration”, he continued. “The success of measures to encourage people to come to Vienna will depend on the extent to which a climate of opinion can be established in which migration is seen not primarily as a problem but as a prerequisite for growth and prosperity.” Migrants must feel that they are welcome in Vienna.
Proposals widely acclaimed
The migration model was also widely acclaimed by all parties with the exception of the FPÖ in the provincial government and municipal council in Vienna. “The plan sounds promising and is a milestone on the way to attracting the most qualified people,” ÖVP chairperson Christine Marek told journalists. Vienna has always been a traditional melting pot in the heart of Europe and its prosperity is due to a large extent to migrants. “For the Greens the recognition of foreign qualifications is a particular concern,” said the chairman of the Vienna Greens David Ellensohn. This is the only way of ensuring that knowledge and skills are not wasted. Qualified migrants must also be able to bring their families to Vienna, he continued. Rudi Schicker, chairman of the Vienna SPÖ, said that Vienna had managed in the past to compete well with other cities. To maintain this advantage, however, it would have to take full advantage of the potential of young migrants living here. Children should be able to speak three languages, namely, German, English and their own mother tongue. “Trilingualism is the key to success in the future,” he concluded.

Migrants are often better qualified than the jobs they get

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