Vienna, 16 November 2005 Press release

Ministry for Foreign Affairs put immediate stop to shredding of visa files


Embassies in question have stopped destruction of visa files until further notice

Vienna, 16 November 2005 - The Ministry for Foreign Affairs takes this opportunity to point out that according to the legal provisions valid until June 2005 Austrian representations had the right to shred visa files one year after visa expiry. This deadline was extended to two years in June. In general, the representations make use of this legal opportunity for reasons of limited space.

However, since 27 September, immediately after having received information about possible irregularities relating to visa issue, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has instructed six embassies to keep all visa files from the period 2002 - 2005 in a locked room to which only the respective ambassador is given access. There will be no more shredding of visa files at the respective embassies until all allegations have been fully investigated.