Austria to Amend Citizenship Act: Debate about income requirement, people wrongfully treated as Austrians, and citizenship of children born out of wedlock to Austrian fathers
- Published on Saturday, 28 July 2012 14:50
The judgment sparked a public debate in the media about the income requirement in general. It focused around the case of an adult woman who had been living in Austria since her early childhood but was not able to support herself financially due to disabilities (Kurier, May 31, 2012). The case was brought before the Constitutional Court which, surprisingly and against its former jurisprudence, granted legal aid. This can be seen as an indicator that the Court considers the case to have sufficient prospects of success (Der Standard, June 1, 2012; Der Standard, June 2, 2012)
A further public controversy has been triggered by another case of a man wrongfully issued with a citizenship certificate in the early 1960’s (Der Standard, May 9, 2012). Although he has lived as an Austrian for decades and has even served in the Austrian army, the authorities now withdrew his documents and regard him as stateless. Several similar cases had been reported before by the Austrian Board of Ombudsmen (Volksanwaltschaft) with the Ministry of the Interior refusing any comment on the matter. The change of opinion might be seen as a result of even tabloid newspapers paying attention to the issue now (e.g. Kronen Zeitung, May 9, 2012; Kleine Zeitung, May 9, 2012).
A third point of debate arose around Austria’s anachronistic and discriminatory denial of citizenship iure sanguinis to children of Austrian fathers born out of wedlock (Der Standard, June 14, 2012).
A proposal for an amendment covering those three issues has been announced by the Ministry of the Interior for autumn 2012 (Der Standard, June 14, 2012).