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Glossary | transversal 0313: flee erase territorialize


Dublin Regulation

The Dublin Regulation is valid within the European Union. Under this regulation, only one Member State of the entire European Union is responsible for processing an asylum claim. Once a Member State has been designated for an asylum claim, the asylum procedure can take place. All other Member States of the European Union direct the asylum-seeker to the responsible EU Member State.

Except for questions concerning family reunification, the designated Member State in charge is responsible once the asylum-seeker crosses into that country, submits an application for asylum, or receives a residence permit from that Member State.

The examination consists of checking biometric data (fingerprints) with those that have been saved at the EURODAC (read the text “Erase them!” by Brigitta Kuster and Vassilis Tsianos in the current issue of transversal).

Following a verdict of the European Court of Human Rights declaring deporation to Greece as a violation of human rights, the majority of EU countries have deleted Greece as a Schengen Area for the transfer of asylum-seekers under the Dublin Regulation. Austria first stopped this procedure in 2011.



Eurodac is the European fingerprint database. It collects and processes the fingerprints of a) asylum-seekers, b) border crossers who have entered the outer borders of the EU irregularly, and c) persons apprehended on grounds of being illegal in an EU territory. Eurodac has been online since 2003 and is used by the 27 EU Member States as well as Iceland and Norway (since 2001), Switzerland (since2008), and Liechtenstein (since 2011). As of 2011 a total of 412,303 data inputs have been recorded at Eurodac. The legal framework for their collection and distribution of data is based on the Eurodac Regulation that went into effect in 2000 and was then revised in 2002. At present the European Commission is working on a new regulation (read the text “Erase them!” by Brigitta Kuster and Vassilis Tsianos in the current issue of transversal).


Basic Welfare Support

Basic welfare support is given to asylum-seekers until the end of their asylum procedure. Recognized refugees receive it during the first four months following reception of this status as well a persons with subsidary protection/non-refoulement and persons allowed to remain in Austria because of their tolerance status granted to them by the Aliens Police.

Basic welfare includes room and board in support centers, clothing, €40 monthly allowance, as well as medical insurance. If the asylum-seeker lives in a private apartment, as much as €290 can be paid out to cover rent and food.


Subsidary Protection/Non-Refoulement

If a claim for asylum is rejected, a subsidary protection/non-refoulement (gray card) can be issued. The asylum-seeker does not have refugee status as defined by the Geneva Convention, but will not be forced to return to his/her country of origin because of objective conditions there (for example civil war). Subsidary protection/non-refoulement applications must be submiited annually and include the right to basic welfare support as well as access to the labor market.


Custody Pending Deportation

With custody pending deportation, the legal perspective is one of detention and not arrest. This means that there is no judicial order necessary and that no crime has been committed. Custody pending deportation is ordered by civil servants of a government agency and requires no review of remand. This coersive measure is usually carried out in police detention centers where asylum-seekers and migrants can be retained for as long as ten months within an eighteen month period. Custody pending deportation is meant to secure a peaceful course for the deportation process. In 2011 there were more than 6500 persons in Austria in custody pending deportation. Among this group were minors due to the fact that the Aliens Police consider children who are 16 years of age to be adults. Persons between 14 and 16 years of age are placed in open jails where they are required to report to the police daily. Children under 14 years of age are exempt from this measure.


Initial Application for Asylum

In order to claim asylum, a person must be outside his country of origin. In accordance with the Austrian asylum law, only applications placed in Austria will be processed. Applications for asylum in Austrian embassies can only be accepted if a family member has already received asylum or subsidary protection/non-refoulement in Austria. Persons eligible for this status include unmarried children under 18 years of age and spouses.

The application for asylum can be made in a reception center (in Austria there are three, one being the camp in Traiskirchen) or with the police. In the second case the police should bring the asylum-seeker to the next reception center. The police should also bring refugees who they find in the streets to a reception center and try to make them understand that they are required to apply for asylum.

The application for asylum can go through two different channels- the first being the state asylum bureau or the reception center, and the second being the supreme constitution court. The first channel primarily protects the asylum-seeker from deportation and gives him/her access to basic welfare support. Asylum-seekers have no right of access to the labor market, but a limited number of seasonal work permits are available.


Renewed Applications for Asylum

A renewed application for asylum can only be submitted, if retroactive asylum entitlements exist due either to a change in the situation in his/her county of origin or in regards to the asylum-seeker’s activities after fleeing. During the examination of the renewed asylum application, the deportation protection associated with the initial application does not exist.

If the applicant has no residential registration form and no address to where the official documents can be sent, the asylum procedure can be prematurely closed.


Residence Permits, Permits for Asylum-Seekers


Red Card

After initial questioning the asylum-seeker receives a red card. He/she is not allowed to leave the reception center for five days. If the card is issued on a weekend, this time limit is extended for two additional days.


Green Card

Five to seven day after the initial quetioning the asylum-seeker receives a procedure card (green card) that he/she can use until it can be determined if Austria is responsible to examine his/her application for asylum. During this period the asylum-seeker is not allowed to leave the precinct of the reception center.


White Card

The asylum card or white card means that the reasons for an asylum claim have been accepted. This card serves as a valid residence permit.


Gray Card

If the asylum court refuses an asylum claim, a subsidary protection/non-refoulement (gray card) can be issued. The recipient of this card will not have the recognition of refugee status under the Geneva convention, but he/she will not be forced to return to his/her country of origin because of objective conditions there (for example civil war). Subsidary protection/non-refoulement applications must be submitted annually.


Tolerance Cards

If deportation is not possible because the asylum-seeker’s country of origin does not issue an entrance visa, the Aliens Police can grant the asylum-seeker a tolerance card. A tolerance card allows the refugee to receive basic welfare support again, but does not give him/her access to a work permit. Tolerance cards are extremely rare.