Wien, 17. April 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "Not a single case of visa fraud or visa shopping found among two million visas issued"

Visa issue process is safer, more transparent and more efficient than ever

Vienna, 17 April 2013 - "After thorough examination, the Court of Auditors has reached the conclusion that the majority of the recommendations of the visa commission have been implemented", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said in the discussion of the final report of the Court of Auditors in Parliament."The process of visa issuing has never been safer, more transparent or more efficient."

The Court of Auditors performed a thorough check of Austrian visas issued between the years 2005 and 2009. "During the period under investigation, more than 2 million visas were granted in all parts of the world. The Court found no evidence of visa shopping or fraud. This means that we have taken the right steps", State Secretary Lopatka said. "We are, however, continuing our efforts to make the system even better. It is all about efficiency, transparency and control. Not only did we want to resolve and punish wrongdoings, we also wanted to create a system that makes abuse virtually impossible".

Nearly all of the 32 recommendations the Court of Auditors had made to the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of the Interior have been complied with. These measures include better facilities, personnel consequences, exhaustive inspection mechanisms and closer cooperation with other Schengen countries. "The two areas where we did not follow the recommendations relate to issues of internal administration and also those cases where we have set ourselves standards higher than those expected by the Court of Auditors", Lopatka said.

The Foreign Ministry placed a special focus on the use of high-tech system. The step-by-step introduction of the EU Visa Information System (VIS) is leading to exchange of data within the entire Schengen area in real time. Over the past few years we have set up a system that is safer than any system before", the State Secretary said.

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