Austria’s conservative interior minister rejected a proposal for more unified asylum rules in the European Union under which all member countries would grant asylum seekers the right to work, according to a newspaper interview published on Thursday.
Austria took in 90,000 asylum seekers during the influx of migrants to Europe last year, but has since capped its intake and imposed border controls. Currently asylum applicants are allowed to work in community jobs.
But the proposal made by the European Commission on Wednesday would include a rule allowing refugees and migrants to obtain work permits six months after making their asylum application.
“I consider it unthinkable to issue working permits for asylum seekers,” Wolfgang Sobotka told the paper. “It would be a call to people in crisis-ridden countries to come to Austria. Our job market would not be able to absorb that.”
Anti-immigration sentiment among Austrians has risen as result of the migrant crisis, the biggest to affect Europe since WW2, and helped swell support for the far-right Freedom Party.