Austria Adopts New Tougher Asylum Law
Austria will be able to declare a state of emergency, if migrant arrivals suddenly rise, and reject most asylum-seekers directly at the border under a new bill adopted on Wednesday, newswires reported.
The hotly-disputed legislation is “one of Europe's toughest asylum laws”, according to AFP.
The new legislation will force migrants to request asylum directly at the border in yet-to-be-built registration centres. Migrants may be held for up to 120 hours while their application is being checked.
In addition to tightening migration rules, Austria also prepares to build a fence at Brenner Pass, a key crossing on the country’s border with Italy, police in the Alpine province of Tyrol have said.
Migrants are crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to Italy in growing numbers and Vienna has said Rome must cooperate to stop them travelling further north in Europe or Austria will be forced to introduce border controls at the Brenner Pass.
Whether the fence is built, however, will depend on the outcome of talks in Rome on Thursday between Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka and his Italian counterpart, Reuters quoted a Tyrol police spokesman as saying on Wednesday.
On Sunday, scuffles broke out at the Brenner Pass between Austrian police and several hundreds of pro-refugee demonstrators protesting the planned introduction of border checks at the Alpine pass.
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