Schallenberg signs migration agreement with India

Schallenberg signs migration agreement with India

The agreement “is a clear commitment to increased cooperation in the fight against illegal migration,” said Foreign Minister Schallenberg. However, it must also serve to recruit highly qualified workers.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) signed a bilateral migration and mobility agreement with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Saturday. The signing took place on the sidelines of the meeting between EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from the Indo-Pacific region in Stockholm, announced the Foreign Ministry.

“The agreement is a clear commitment to increasing Austro-Indian cooperation in the fight against illegal migration. For the first time, we are creating a contractual basis for returns to India,” Foreign Minister Schallenberg said in a press release. The agreement had already been initialed at the beginning of the year, during the visit of the Indian chancellor to Vienna.

Recruitment of highly skilled workers

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the agreement aims, on the one hand, to combat illegal migration from India to Europe and, on the other hand, to facilitate the recruitment of highly qualified workers from India by Austria. There should also be simplifications in issuing visas for journalists and scientists and student exchanges. It is also planned to create a “working holiday programme”: it should allow young people to gain professional experience in the other country for a short period of time.

“The deal is a milestone in our relationship with the world’s most populous country. It creates opportunities to bring Indian workers to Austria, for example as part of the Red-White-Red Card. Highly skilled Indians can now fill gaps where there are Austria lacks workers,” emphasized Schallenberg. Cooperation between state agencies should therefore make it easier for Indian citizens to find a suitable employer in Austria.

Turning to the Asia-Pacific region

According to a Foreign Office statement, Schallenberg used the ministerial forum to continue Austria’s strategic focus on the Asia-Pacific region. He met his counterparts from Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Singapore – Yoshimasa Hayashi, Ali Sabri, Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi and Vivian Balakrishnan – on the sidelines of the meeting for bilateral talks.