The Austrian Integration Fund

Objectives and Tasks

The Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) aims at providing language, professional and social integration of asylum beneficiaries and migrants on the basis of their respective rights and obligations in Austria. At the same time, ÖIF provides factual and background information to the majority population on this subject, since successful integration can only be achieved through common efforts.

Habibi – the House of Education and Professional Integration

Habibi is the central site of ÖIF for measures in the areas language, education and employment.

Services:

  • German language classes: from literacy to B1 level
  • Job-specific courses: computer trainings, job search trainings, job-specific German language classes
  • Job centre: labour market counselling, support with educational issues
  • Child care groups
  • Services for businesses: offering in-house German language classes

The Integration Centres of ÖIF

The integration centres of ÖIF in Vienna, Upper Austria, Tyrol and Styria provide services all over Austria.

Services:

  • Counselling of new immigrants at the Welcome Desks
  • Organising workshops for new immigrants and authorities
  • Counselling with issues related to integration, in particular in the areas language, education and employment
  • Networking with key players on all levels of responsibility
  • Project implementation (e.g. mentoring for migrants)
  • Factual and background information on integration and migration
  • Contact persons on site on the subjects Integration Agreement and European Funds

Individual Support Services

To facilitate the integration process, ÖIF offers starting aid for integration in the form of financial support in the areas language, education and employment. This includes financing German language classes (literacy, various levels), supporting professional training and further education (e.g. fork lift driving licence, Liese-Prokop-Scholarship) or sponsoring school activities (tutoring, etc.).

Target groups are recognised refugees, people granted subsidiary protection, third country citizens (only with specific residence permits, see ÖIF – Homepage) and Imams.

Dissemination of Knowledge

The host society is an important target group for the Austrian Integration Fund, since integration can only be achieved if migrants and the majority population contribute their proper share.

Publications: Statistical Yearbook "Migration & Integration", " Migration & Integration: Women, Migration & Integration: Juveniles, Migration & Integration: Federal Provinces, ÖIF – Dossiers, country information and monographs, information brochure for students from abroad: "Studying and Working in Austria".

Further education: Seminar "Intercultural Conflict Management" and university course for Migration Management

In addition, by providing scholarships for diploma and master dissertations on the topics integration and migration, ÖIF provides support for the scholarly debate regarding these key social issues. ÖIF has been involved at the European Forum Alpbach since 2013, and provides grants to migrants for participating in this international event.

Integration Agreement

On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs, the ÖIF is jointly responsible for the implementation of the Integration Agreement. The ÖIF certifies and evaluates course providers and reimburses part of the course fees, when A2 level examinations have been passed. The ÖIF has developed the ÖIF Test as final exam for A2 level German integration courses.

Communication

ÖIF provides information both to migrants, to the host society, and to disseminators such as journalists, teachers and decision makers. In 2013, the first issue of the journal "TOGETHER:AUSTRIA" was published with a circulation of 30.000 copies. Moreover, with its church newspapers (e.g. for foreign-language Catholics, for the Coptic or Orthodox denominations) ÖIF is most effectively targeting migrants to inform them about individual offerings.

At www.sprachportal.at ÖIF offers comprehensive services concerning German language skills. Online exercises provide good training opportunities supplementing conventional German language classes. The language hotline of ÖIF provides personal information about German language classes and support schemes offered by ÖIF.

The website www.berufsanerkennung.at presents quick and simple guidance to the right contact point for migrants, who would like to have their professional education recognised in Austria, and offers comprehensive information on the subject employment and further education.

TOGETHER:AUSTRIA

Since 2012 ÖIF has managed the initiative TOGETHER:AUSTRIA which is asking successful migrants – so-called Integration Ambassadors – to pay visits to schools, clubs and associations. Under the motto "Your Chance!" young people from a migrant background are to be motivated to recognise education as an opportunity, and to make use of the many career options Austria has to offer them.

European Funds

ÖIF supports the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs in managing the European Refugee Fund (ERF) and the European Integration Fund (EIF).

At its sites in Austria, ÖIF offers information and counselling, organises integration projects and supports the National Action Plan for Integration.