The newly established mobile service point for Ukrainian refugees in St. Polten began on Friday. Displaced people can get general information there, but also information about school, work and health issues. In the next few weeks, the mobile service point will be rolled out to other federal states and then again to Lower Austria on April 22nd.
During a local visit to the site, Integration Minister Suzanne Rabb (VP) said one wanted to help “quickly and non-bureaucratically” with various offers. Also present were Education Minister Martin Polashek (ÖVP), Labor Minister Martin Kochhar (ÖVP), Provincial Councilor Martin Eichtinger (ÖVP) and Refugee Coordinator Michael Takakus.
The mobile service point was set up in a building in the government district. Stands were available from Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), Public Employment Service (AMS), Department of Education, Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK), Lower Austria State and State Kindergartens. An interpreter was also present at the scene.
Areas of life have been brought together
There are many questions for the newcomers, said the Integration Minister. From German courses to enrolling children in the kindergarten or school system to questions about the job market, housing and health. “We have brought together all the offices responsible for these areas of life in Lower Austria so that people can get their questions answered as quickly as possible in one day,” Rabb said. “We do not know how the war in Ukraine is evolving and how long-term the people here need to be in order to survive, but it is important to us that they return to their daily lives as soon as possible,” he said.
About 5,000 Ukrainian children now attend Austrian schools. “We try to establish appropriate German remedial classes where it is understandable and possible,” said Polasek. Many young refugees will also continue to attend Ukrainian classes through distance learning. In general, they want to support all parents and students: for example, a Ukrainian interpreter system and a friend system for communication between parents and teachers, including teaching materials in Ukrainian language. Ukrainian students who have been in Austria for a long time now take care of the students who are coming. So far 500 scholarships have been created for the incoming students.
Rapid recognition of qualifications
In the labor market, those who want to work are prepared for a larger crowd, Kochhar said on Friday. Questions about basic needs will still be at the forefront, but it will be expanded soon.
Both Rab and Kochhar emphasized the importance of speedy recognition of the qualifications of individuals from Ukraine. A professional perspective focus here. However, according to Kocher, Austrian standards must be observed. If necessary, additional qualifications will also be offered.
10,000 refugees in Lower Austria
About 52,000 people from Ukraine are currently registered in Austria. There are about 10,000 refugees in Lower Austria, 6,000 of whom are in primary care, according to provincial councilor Eichtinger. About 1,600 children attend lower Austrian schools. “It is very important to us that we give the Ukrainians a realistic perspective and that we see it today as impressive,” Ichtinger said.
“We can’t sit still and relax, we don’t know what’s going to happen next. But we’re nicely prepared for the current challenges,” Tacaks concludes. In a very short time we have achieved a lot together.