Vienna, 14 May 2014 Press release

50 years of Turkish migration to Austria

Vienna, 14 May 2014 – The Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs has organised two symposiums on labour migration looking back on fifty years of labour migration to Austria. At the first event tomorrow, high-level scientists, researchers and practice-oriented participants will discuss the issue at the Hacettepe University in Ankara. 

Exactly 50 years ago, on 15 May 1964, representatives of Austria and Turkey signed the bilateral agreement on labour recruitment. In the economic boom years Austria was dependent on additional labour from abroad. Many of the "guest workers", as they were called, who had emigrated to Austria wanted to return to their home country later on, but they found a new home in Austria and decided to have their families follow them. "For a long time, Austria failed to offer sufficient schemes and programmes for integration, and this is why we are still facing major challenges today, 50 years later. Especially in the field of language. We are therefore intensifying our efforts to promote language development and we are pleased that the project of early German language learning has been extended", Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz said.

Three years ago Austria embarked on the right course, but great efforts still need to be made. In order to facilitate integration for the future, people who wish to live in Austria are informed soon after their arrival about the values and the importance of learning German. Nearly 80% of all people with a Turkish migrant background feel at home in Austria and a large majority of them are happy about the way of life here. Even though Austria has become a new home for many, integration is still facing challenges; for example with regard to the sense of belonging and identity: 54% people with a Turkish migrant background still feel themselves to be more closely connected with Turkey than with Austria. Successful migrants, some with Turkish roots, who work on the Zusammen:Österreich team of "integration ambassadors" set a good example and demonstrate that merits are important for anyone who wishes to make his or her mark through achievements, irrespective of origin, religion or language.

The second symposium is to be held at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs in Vienna on 16 June.

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