Displaced persons arriving in fall 2015 in Austria: insights on their human capital

Isabella Buber-Ennser, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Judith Kohlenberger, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Bernhard Rengs, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Zakarya Al Zalak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Anne Goujon, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Erich Striessnig, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Michaela Potančoková, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Richard Gisser, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Maria Rita Testa, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

For months, people from the Middle East have been fleeing to Europe. Many of them have searched refuge from war, terror and persecution in Austria. Given the large number of persons applying for asylum in Austria in summer and fall 2015 and the societal relevance of the latest migration flows to Austria, it is of utmost importance to not only determine how many persons are seeking asylum, but to investigate who these refugees are. In other words, not counting the heads but uncover what these heads can offer in terms of human capital for Austrian society. To help with their inclusion it is important to know more about their educational background and their professional qualifications, and also about their hopes and expectations for the future. A recent study in Vienna has gathered this information for the first time in the German-speaking area. Respondents were also asked about their origins and family backgrounds as well as about their attitudes and values. The survey covers approx. 500 persons who had to flee their home countries and are now accommodated in eastern Austria, interviews were conducted in Arabic, Farsi, and English. The analyses focuses on asylum seekers who arrived in Austria between September and November 2015. Analyses focus on their education, their family context and their work. Moreover, we analyze attitudes and norms regarding e.g. women’s position in the labor market or religiousness. We distinguish between Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and other citizens. First results indicate that the surveyed population comprised mainly young families with children, particularly those coming from Syria and Iraq. Their educational level is high compared with the average level in their country of origin. The applied methodological technique and experiences during the field phase provide valuable insights on sampling asylum seekers and refugees in the current European context.

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Presented in Session 90: Integration challenges of forced migration