Austrians Largely Rate Coexistence with Ukrainian Displaced Persons as Positive

Lifestyle & TravelCulture ♦ Published: November 6, 2022; 23:37 ♦ (Vindobona)

Since the start of the Ukraine war in February, around 85,000 Ukrainian displaced persons have been registered in Austria. According to the Austrian Integration Fund, the integration barometer on the coexistence of people with and without a migration background explains that 64 percent see the coexistence of Austrians and Ukrainians as positive and, as a survey on the Ukraine war, provides information on attitudes and moods toward the integration of Ukrainian displaced persons in Austria.

The survey shows rather positive attitudes of Austrians towards the integration of Ukrainian displaced persons in Austria. / Picture: © Thomas Topf / © Parlamentsdirektion

Although Austria traditionally has a rather reserved attitude toward refugees and foreigners, 64 percent rate the coexistence of Austrians and Ukrainians as positive. There is thus still a positive mood toward Ukrainian war refugees among the population, and 14 percent of respondents even rate coexistence as "very good." People under 30 years of age, people with children in the household, respondents with a migration background and people living in Vienna rate coexistence particularly positively. 17 percent are rather negative about living together, and 18 percent were undecided or made no statement.

Living together with Ukrainians is rated more positively than living together with other population groups. Living together with immigrants (44%), refugees (43%) and Muslims (28%) received lower approval ratings.

The largest group of respondents (47%) believes that Ukrainian war refugees can be better integrated than refugees from other countries. 35 percent expect integration to work about as well as with other refugees.

The majority agreement among respondents that Ukrainian war-displaced persons should be granted access to the school system, labor market and health care system, as well as the willingness to continue taking in war-displaced persons and the conviction that they can be well integrated, underscores the willingness to help Ukrainians. However, respondents are more critical of the fact that war-displaced persons are granted special protection status without an individual case assessment (48% in favor, 46% against) and that they have access to Austrian social benefits (45% in favor, 47% against).

Although the Austrian population generally has a positive image of people from Ukraine, a majority also expect challenges in integrating the arrivals: 65 percent anticipate difficulties in acquiring the German language, 63 percent expect problems at schools and 56 percent expect challenges in the labor market. 33 percent of respondents fear more difficult conditions for Austrians in the labor market due to new Ukrainian workers, while 62 percent do not share this concern.

Openness to further admissions of Ukrainians and confidence in Austria's coping strategy has decreased compared to the beginning of the crisis: 58 percent (compared to 72% in April 2022) support further admissions of displaced persons from Ukraine and 56 percent (compared to 65% in April 2022) believe that Austria will cope well with the admission and integration of Ukrainians.

The Integration Barometer on the coexistence of people with and without a migration background is compiled on an ongoing basis by Peter Hajek Public Opinion Strategies for the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), with 1,000 Austrian citizens being surveyed in each case.

Austrian Integration Fund