Not all refugees are enjoying their European experience. Some refugees from Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq, disillusioned with how life is turning out for them in Austria, are packing up and going home.
The Local reports that between January and November of 2015, more than 1,000 migrants from Kosovo, 530 from Iraq, and 120 from Afghanistan, who had arrived in the country seeking asylum, have left Austria voluntarily and gone back to their home countries. The numbers of refugees leaving Austria have gone up since the middle of September, according to a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry of Austria Karl-Heinz Grunbock.
"Many are afraid of being deported and the humiliation of that. There are so many uncertainties for them here in Austria, many refugees are traumatized and need a sense of security."One refugee from Iraq who has decided to go back to his country along with two of his friends after being in Austria for three months is leaving feeling frustrated with his time in the country.
"We've just been humiliated here. It was a mistake to come. People look at us here as if we were terrorists, and all we want is peace. Dogs are treated better than refugees in Austria - at least they have something good to eat, and are even given something to wear."Austria has been struggling with the number of refugees who have showed up seeking asylum, although many refugees showing up at its border are just passing through on their way to Germany, which is the ultimate destination for many asylum seekers.
By the end of October, at the Spielfeld border between Austria and Slovenia, the situation was chaotic, with 4,000 refugees per day being placed on 60 buses to be transported further into Austria. Yet at that rate, they were not able to keep up with the demand, angering Slovenia who accused Austria of not accepting refugees fast enough. Slovenia threatened to build a border fence if Austria did not improve the situation.
However, because of the influx of refugees, Austria itself has decided to build its own fence along the border with Slovenia to gain control over the refugee situation, a move that, according to the Telegraph, left Germany angry because it threatens the border-free Schengen zone.
The result is a terrible situation at the border of Austria with refugees being stuck, waiting to get across, with no clue as to how long it will take. The Independent talked with Anna Brettchuh, a teacher from Hamburg, Germany, who brought her son with her to the border to help give food to those at the border, about the conditions refugees are dealing with.
"It's horrible. I can't believe what I'm seeing here and no locals are helping them. To think that the Austrians have talked about building a fence. It's not human. We are treating them like sheep in pens. It's hard to see but my son had a project on refugees at school and I think it is important he sees this. It is important we all see it."Despite all the doom and gloom however, according to Reuters, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes that as long as integration of the up to 90,000 refugees that have applied for asylum this year in Austria continues at the pace it is going, which it sees as "timely and well-targeted," the effect on the country's economy could be quite positive.
"We estimate that the increased immigrant inflows over 2015-20 could lift potential GDP growth by 1/4 of a percentage point by 2020 and reduce net pension and health spending by a similar amount."Nikolay Georgiev, the IMF mission chief for Austria, spoke at a news conference discussing the potential impact, describing the IMF's estimate as "a bit conservative." He also stated that the situation will be even better if employment numbers end up being higher than projected.
So, for those refugees who manage to make their way through the grueling process of travelling thousands of kilometers, facing harsh conditions, having their asylum applications accepted and then are willing to stay, in the end the result may be quite positive for both Austria and the refugees.
[Feature image Johannes Simon/Getty Images]